Encouraging Reader Responses
Brethren, I am sharing these responses – not to promote myself, but to encourage those who believe they are isolated in their stance for truth. These letters also serve to prove the fallacy of some brethren’s claim that opposition to the post-civil-divorce "putting away" is a “peculiar” position. There are still 7000 whose knees have not bowed to Baal (I K. 19:18)!
* The author's names and identifying information have been removed to protect the “innocent.” Recent responses are first.
Hello … (and all included as recipients),
As always, it is good hearing from you.
You asked in your email if I have read Joe Price’s clarification to his teaching first introduced in his article, “The Forgotten Side of Romans 14.” Yes, I have read Joe’s clarification and like many who have read it, it only adds to the confusion and contradictions.
The simple facts are:
1. Joe wrote the article, “The Forgotten Side of Romans 14.”
2. In this material, Joe quoted Keith Greer and Keith’s appeal for tolerance relative to the doctrinal items he mentioned and commended Keith’s appeal (Keith mentioned divorcement for the Kingdom’s sake, number seven, a matter involving multiple causes for divorce).
3. I challenged Joe on Biblematters, an internet list to which Joe published his material, and an exchange on that list resulted.
4. Joe defended Mike Willis’ teaching on multiple causes for divorce by appealing to Romans 14. In the exchange, I taught that Romans 14 does not accept such doctrines as multiple causes for divorce and, moreover, Romans 14 does not require fellowshipping those who teach such. Joe took issue as the opposing disputant in the exchange. Simple enough, isn’t it? Read the exchange at:
Joe could have said, “I am sorry that I so badly wrote the article and I am responsible for intelligent brethren thinking that I placed such doctrines as multiple causes for divorce into the protective cover of Romans 14.” He did not!
The elders at Holly Street spent a number of months corresponding with Joe about his teaching, Joe never backed away from it, but adamantly defended his position. Two inevitable choices exist concerning Joe:
A. Joe is deliberately teaching error and then trying to deceive by his double talk.
B. Joe lacks the intelligence and communication skill to be teaching at all.
I really wish that I could select “B” as the answer. However, based on much experience with Joe, I cannot. Joe is a classic example of a guy who started mixing with the wrong group (Mike Willis and the Guardian of Truth Foundation). He straddled the fence and now will not accept the consequences. Joe is a sad case of one who sought to please all and be a middle-of-the-roader. The church does not need men like Joe Price in the pulpit, regardless of his particular classification, “A” or “B.”
In the Joe Price matter, the issues are simple. Watch how I answer the questions for which Joe just could not provide simple answers:
1. Is Mike Willis teaching error that allows one to unscripturally divorce a mate?
My answer: “Yes” (Matt. 5: 32, 19: 9, I Cor. 7).
2. Does the teaching of more than one cause for divorce find placement in Romans 14 and thus allow doctrinal differences to exist in the circumstance of relative “unity”?
My answer: “No.” (The answer is, “no” because Romans 14 does not accept such doctrinal error.)
3. Is Mike Willis a false teacher who must be marked rather than defended?
My answer: Mike Willis has demonstrated by his teaching and associated behavior that he is a false teacher who must be marked and not fellowshipped (Rom. 16: 17).
Joe has now added to his original false teaching, deceit, lying, and duplicity.
Thank you, …, for your interest in only supporting the truth and those who teach it. Please feel free to share this email with any interested in this shameful matter. Additional relevant material in www.bibletruths.net is, “Divorcement for the Kingdom’s Sake.” This is a PowerPoint sermon and is accessed from the Site Map page (enter through the door on the home page) and click on, “PowerPoint Sermons.” (Scroll down to “D” on the PowerPoint Sermons page.) It is sad that more and more preachers are defending Mike Willis, a man who will not even often defend his own teaching in honorable controversy! (Cp. Phili. 1: 7, 17, Jude 3.) Such is, alas, a regrettable example of partyism in the Lord's church!
Thanks for the info update. I hope things work out well for you in Alabama. Don Wright has an outstanding article in the newest gospel truths. Be sure to read it...and spread it!
You may remember Gene Plyler who recently stepped down as an elder at the Lawrenceville GA congregation. He was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago…I met Gene first when…
I had remembered that he had written a tract on MDR which included the oldest refutation of the “mental divorce” position that I know of (though that term was not used). He told me it was actually his Dad (Woodrow) who had written that tract. He said the material was originally written in the 1960’s, and that he (Gene) had asked Truth Magazine publish it in the 70’s. But they said no. (do we wonder why?)
Gene told me Woodrow was responding to Ward Hogland’s teaching on MDR when he wrote what he did against the mental divorce position. (some things never change)
…Great family. (7-16-07)
Effective Immediately, my Email address is changed from … to …
Please note this in your Address Book. (6-1-07)
Some Gospel preachers are claiming the Christian husband or wife can depart from their mate for various and sundry reasons.
1. Running up bills on the credit card.
2. Beating the children.
3. To become or remain a Christian.
4. To maintain physical or emotional health.
5. Hostilities reach the point they must live apart.
6. We do not have to become a doormat.
7. Must have human judgment in these matters.
8. Mate reached the end of the rope.
9. Must separate to serve God.
I have about 4 questions for all who hold this view, when I have asked only one, you will be able to answer whether it is permissible to involve ourselves in willful, deliberate, presumptuous sin. Then answer the question—Is it possible to repent when we are not sorry before God, or we would do it again under similar circumstances. Would we teach others it is pleasing to God to willfully, premeditatedly commit sin against God.
1. Had you rather depart or be thrown into a fiery furnace?
2. Had you rather depart or be thrown in the lions den?
3. Had you rather depart or be killed when you touch the Ark of the Covenant?
4. Had you rather depart or lie to God about you contribution?
Which command do you believe is pleasing to God to disobey?
1. Thou shalt not kill.
2. Let not the wife depart from her husband.
3. Let not the husband put away his wife.
Do you believe we should encourage others to place themselves in a more vulnerable position by advising them to sin in disobeying a command of God? When a Christian man or woman departs from their spouse, they are placing themselves in a position of potential wantonness, increasing temptations to sin. Billy Ray Ford
“Conscience is one of God’s greatest gifts, and he that
destroys it must answer for it.”
Honesty - Truth - Error
There are many good people in the religious world who are honestly mistaken, but when a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, one of two things must happen: he will cease to be mistaken or he will cease to be HONEST. If he does not obey the truth he will no longer be honest. If he does obey the truth he will no longer be mistaken. Honesty and error must separate when truth comes along. No man can be honestly mistaken if he has heard the truth! - by Eugene Britnell (5-29-07)
Perhaps it would be best to conceal our names. I had a private written debate with brother … ask me not to make public. So in all honesty I told him and gave him my word that I would not make our written discussion public. Out of respect for my word which I gave him and his request please do not make public our differences. Not yet at least! If or when it does become public then I would have no choice but to correspond thusly. Brother … and myself have been marked as false teachers by the … preachers. To my knowledge brother … has not marked us as false teachers. Not yet anyway! … In … brother … teachings have not found root. To the contrary the brethren have openly rejected it as did … and I here in ….
Once again thanks for your stand for the faith. (5-26-07)
It’s a great website, and it just seems to be getting better and better. Good work, my friend!
…The gospel meeting approacheth! Time for me to go take another look at Mentaldivorce.com.
The Lord bless and keep “you and yours” (5-26-07)
I now have high-speed internet service. Please update my address: …
Thanks and God bless, (5-25-07)
“Well, it all depends on how you parse the syntax or define the words.”
On the day of judgment, I don’t want to base my hope of heaven on whether or not a certain word made a commandment MORE PERMISSIVE than it otherwise would be. And I also do not want others to base their salvation on my loophole magnifying glass. (5-25-07)
One of Wayne Partain’s paragraphs seemed to me to be a straw man, unless there is something going around that I know nothing about.
What was Wayne talking about when he wrote:
“If the case against this practice were an open and shut matter, as clear as baptism and the Lord’s Supper, brethren wouldn’t misuse Mark 10:11 to prove their contention. The very idea that when a man divorces his wife not for fornication and marries another he does NOT commit adultery against his first wife is ridiculous on the face of it.”
Are there brethren, other than the ultra-liberal, who are teaching this? (5-25-07)
Thanks for the updates. It saddens my heart to see brother Partain take the unity in diversity position on the MDR issue. However, it does not surprise me since for many years he has taken the position on the Mental Marriage issue. He clearly teaches this in his book, “El Hogar” which is widely preached and accepted as pure gospel…
…I have asked brother Partain to not teach this damning doctrine on several occasions in which he replied, “it is the truth” … How twisted can you be.
Thanks for your updates.
In His love and mine, (5-25-07)
Jeff, Thanks for sending your articles on divorce to me. I really enjoy them! Also, please keep the … Church of Christ in your Prayers! Thanks so much!! (5-24-07)
It seems like I remember that Wayne Chappell had to leave the Warrior, AL congregation some years back because he believed in “mental divorce.” I asked him for a debate of course <grin>, but he said no. I think this was before you started your site. (5-22-07)
Dear brother Jeff,
Outstanding articles and thank you again for your stance and love for the truth! Just a note: here are the latest versions of the articles on whether the divorced can remarry.
I was very surprised at the teaching of brother Partain. I thought that he was sound. (5-22-07)
How much longer will you stay at the present work? … How are things with the family?
When I read Gene Frost’s answers to Willis’ misrepresentations, I see a group that was well practiced in the art of deception and falsehoods long before your effort to expose the mental-divorce issue. I’m sure you were like me in thinking it was a disappointing response that evolved out of pressure and exposure. But when I read how they have responded to Gene’s efforts, you see a well-rehearsed response that must have evolved long ago. And all the while we thought we were dealing with sincere honest men.
It sounds like you will land on solid ground at Skyline, (5-22-07)
Good Point! :
Now, let’s make the parallel to divorce. The writing of divorcement commanded in Deuteronomy 24:1 was for the married. Likewise, when the Lord spoke of those who “put away” (or repudiate) one’s divinely bound man/woman, He was clearly addressing those who sunder the “one flesh” (marriage) relationship (Matthew 5:31-32; 19:3, 6, 9; cf. I Corinthians 7:10-11)! In fact, every single instance of divorce referenced in both the Old and New Testaments (whether authorized or condemned) is depicted as an action taken by one who is married. This is both Biblically confirmed and self-evident: Whether right or wrong, in a monogamous relationship, it is only possible for married people to divorce and unmarried people to marry. Any contention more or less than this is a perversion of God’s word, as well as an insult to brethren’s intelligence (Ephesians 4:14-15)! (5-22-07)
Well done again brother!
When will you be heading to Warrior? (5-21-07)
Thanks for the encouragement… (5-21-07)
I appreciate your willingness to stand for the truth on this important issue. Donald’s article and notes are very good. Keep it up! (5-19-07)
I noticed El Bethel is having Harry Osborne for meeting June 3-8. Isn’t Donnie one of the elders? What’s up with that?... (5-18-07)
“He Speaks out of Both Sides of His Mouth”
By Don Martin
English is one of the most colloquial and fluid languages of
all. We have so many expressions that are replete with
picturesque figurativeness. “He speaks out of both sides of this
mouth” is describing a man who speaks contradictory things. Some
of the American Indians, themselves great speakers in terms of
figures and hyperboles, were heard using this and similar
expressions. James addressed such a man in his following
“9: Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. 10: Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11: Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? 12: Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh” (Jas. 3).
Not long ago, I on several occasions witnessed contradictory speech. The serious thing about such speech is not just the misinformation, but the evident corrupt heart that produces such opposing language.
I read one email correspondence wherein a preacher was
questioned by another as to the multiple causes for divorce
doctrine that is catching on like wild fire these days. “Others
are lying about what I teach, I teach only one cause for
divorce,” said he. “Of course, we have to allow for the woman of
the cruel man, she must have the recourse and the option
During the same time period, I read the writings of a man who said: “I consider the current debates over what constitutes biblical divorcement as an utter waste of time and of no consequence.” Yet, this same man is preaching that all who do not conform to his teaching on the subject are false teachers that must be viewed as unworthy of fellowship, even swine they are…
I could go on and on, sighting examples and instances in which
some have spoken contradictory things. No, I do not think we can
explain such away by saying such is just an accident or lack of
speaking skill. It is much more serious than these offered
explanations. As James stated, such a contradictory circumstance
involves an aberration and grotesque condition. There is a
serious flaw that is systemic in nature and origin and not just
surface or shallow. Brethren and churches are too often in a
state of confusion over such men. These men are usually
characterized by verbosity, as it often takes much speech to
mislead and cover up such intentional deceit. “He speaketh out
of both sides
Preachers, especially, should be able to forthrightly, clearly, and without ambiguity reply to basic questions and teaching situations. If they lack such skill, they do not need to be preaching. However, for the most part, I say based on observation, such men exemplify a large and serious measure of corruption and deceit, speaking out of both sides of their mouth as circumstances dictate (cp. 2 Cor. 4: 2). I had one to tell me regarding a preacher whom he has questioned relative to a certain doctrinal stance: “When I asked him about what you had said his position was he said, ‘Don Martin is telling lies, I do not believe what Martin says I do.’” However, this man read an exchange that I had with the preacher and told me, “Don, ....he just simply lied to me!” There is far too much of this sort of conduct going around these days! Our speech reveals who and what we are, speaking out of both sides of our mouth says we are dishonest and deceitful (cp. Matt. 12: 34f.). Moreover, lying is a sin (Col. 3: 9).
Many thanks Jeff!
…how’s things going for you? Praying for good things for you. (5-3-07)
…very glad to know we are in agreement about these issues… (4-23-07)
It was great getting to know you. I appreciate your loyal stand for the truth…They are looking for a preacher who is willing to contend (Jude 3)… Godspeed. (4-11-07)
Thank you for the note. Keep the sword ready! Love Billy (4-6-07)
Hope you have a safe trip to … Isn’t that where Mike Willis and Co. are located? … I told … and he laughed and said to tell Jeff to be on guard, that Mike Willis might convert you ... He is a BIG kidder and we KNOW that would be an impossibility!
Take care and may God continue to be with you and your family as you take a stanch stand for the TRUTH!!
Please don’t move too far away :( boo hoo! (4-5-07)
Thanks bro! I’ll take a look! (4-4-07)
Thanks man! I’m going to work on this.... I agree with what you are showing. You’re right. I do need to cogitate on it for a little while…
Anyway – like what you’ve done... agree... I’ll just think about how … may try to deal with it… (4-4-07)
Well said... you’re doing a good job with this...How’s the search going? (4-2-07)
We will pray that you find a good group to work with. Keep up your work on the mental divorce issue.
Also, the … group outside … will soon be losing their preacher. … wants to relocate back to … One of the “pillars of the church” … was always impressed with your stand on the divorce issue.
We’re setting up for our Gospel Meeting in … June 8, 9, and 10th. I believe David McKee will be a great speaker! We hope to have you next year.
Keep up the good work, (3-26-07)
I would LOVE to have you come out here to …, if we can find a slot for you. Unfortunately, the church in … just made a decision, about a month ago, to bring in a fellow from … That would have been a GREAT church, with faithful elders and well-grounded in the truth… (3-25-07)
… WOW!!! What a busy schedule you’ve had ... We are thankful to God that you have found a location that you can work with the people of God and be appreciated and make a difference in the Kingdom of our Lord. I have never heard of Warrior, AL., but it certainly describes you in the work you do in the Kingdom ...
... Thank God for men like you and … that are not afraid to hold men accountable for their actions and words!! (5-9-07)
Jeff, … I appreciate you more than you know... Thanks … (5-9-07)
False Teaching 101
By Stephen Harper
In the religious realm, there are some men who would have us believe they are speaking the truths of God’s Word but would be more properly identified as the “false teachers” they are. I know that is a ‘label’ that some individuals do not like to hear, but it is a Scriptural one (cf. II Peter 2:1). It seems the problem some have in calling anyone a ‘false teacher’ comes from an apparent misunderstanding about what makes one a ‘false teacher,’ but it is rarely a problem of identifying the content of what he is teaching. Right now, some are arguing that we can only know a ‘false teacher’ if we know his motives, but if that were true then we mere humans could never identify one as a ‘false teacher’ since no man can know the motives of another unless they reveal it themselves. [And when is the last time you heard anyone stand up and say, “Before I begin, I just want everyone to know I have ulterior motives behind the words I am about to say”?]
I believe honest men will admit that a “false teacher” is not so hard to identify as some might think, but that will not be the point of today’s study. Today, I would like us to consider some of the tactics of those who are propagating error. I believe this is an important study because it seems many unbelievers and even brethren are being led astray by some of the tactics we will discuss today, and are apparently unaware they have been deceived or, more correctly, duped. Some are unwittingly helping foster and propagate error, believing it to be truth!
The apostle Paul warned the Corinthian brethren to forgive and reaffirm their love for the brother whom they had chastened for wrongdoing, as Paul himself had already done, “lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (II Corinthians 2:6-11). Something as ‘simple’ as discipline can be used by Satan to divided brethren unnecessarily and, if that is true, how much more when he uses false teaching to divide brethren unnecessarily? We would do well to know how he and his ministers operate so we can more easily recognize them, expose them, and take precautionary steps to avoid them.
Device #1: Redirect attention to the one who questions what is being taught. [This can be done in several ways.] If the false teacher’s doctrine is being questioned, he might say, “You are only teaching the traditional teachings, not Scripture,” or [stated another way], “That’s church of Christ doctrine.” He will call truth [Bible teachings and Bible passages quoted verbatim] “tradition” to try to get people to believe it is of human invention and does not come from God, diverting attention away from the fact his teaching is without Scriptural basis. This is a common fallacy of argument [diversion] and provides an easy way out of having to explain and defend one’s own teaching [get the audience to look at someone else]. I have noted from my own experience that this is a favorite tactic of those who teach errant positions on marriage, divorce and remarriage. I also find it very revealing that they only make that accusation on this subject and not on any other, such as baptism, stealing, or murder. I can’t recall anyone accusing another man of teaching “the traditional position on murder” but I have seen several men accused of teaching “the traditional position on marriage, divorce, and remarriage” [whatever that is]. Often, they will not even give a straight answer or a defense for what they are teaching — just accusations about what others are teaching. That is no way to find truth!
Another way attention may be diverted to the questioner is by the false teacher impugning the motives of the questioner and attacking his character. This, too, is a fallacy of argument [ad hominem] which diverts attention away from the subject of dispute and prevents anyone from reaching a reasoned understanding of truth. Often, at the same time the false teacher is impugning motives and calling names, he complains about the questioner impugning his motives [when only the doctrine he teaches is mentioned] and calling him names [even when it is his actual name]. To see brethren resort to these strategies is an outright shame and should be disgusting to true believers!
Device #2: Call the opposition ‘extremists.’ This is a favorite tactic in political circles, and one being used more frequently among brethren. Why? Again, it is an easy way to divert attention away from the subject of dispute or the false teacher himself, and onto those questioning the content, application, or consequences of his teachings. If someone disagrees with a teaching or practice and sound reasons are given, those who teach the false doctrines [knowing they cannot defend their teaching or practice from Scripture] will simply label the opposition as ‘extremists’ who are on the outer fringes of sanity and reason. This was used by brethren 40-60 years ago when they tried to defend church-supported institutions and I have found that some brethren today are now using the same tactic when they seek to defend privately-supported human institutions that are doing the work of the local church. Why can’t we simply discuss the issue and leave the name-calling out of it? That will never help anyone to reach a sound and reasoned conclusion! It is a source of division and bitter feelings between brethren, though!
Device #3: ‘I’m still studying it.’ If I teach on any subject, I would expect that some might disagree with something I have taught. I might even mistakenly teach error, though I do not intend to do so or plan on it ever happening. But if someone ever challenged me about what I was teaching, I would imagine no one would be satisfied with the response, “Well, I'm glad you asked, but I’m not going to get into a discussion on this subject because I’m still studying it.”
Sadly, I have heard this very response on a couple of occasions by men who had been propagating error but who also did not want to take responsibility for what they were teaching, or didn’t feel they owed anyone an explanation about what they had taught; they simply wanted to teach their errors and go about their merry way, moving on and refusing to answer any further questions. Friends and brethren, this is nothing but a “cop out.” It is deception, pure and simple, because while they have been “studying” for decades, they continue teaching their doctrines the whole time as if they were convicted it was truth. Only when they are questioned do they suddenly feel unsure, and then claim the high ground of “not wanting to cause division.” Meanwhile, the men who question them are maligned as “divisive” for simply trying to get a straight answer. For shame!
Friends and brethren, the tactics we have covered today are not new, and they will not go away anytime soon. As often as truth is taught, there will be someone to preach error right alongside it, but the false teacher [God’s label, not mine] will always try to present himself in a favorable light while simultaneously trying to slander, malign, and impugn those who question him. Elijah was called a “troubler of Israel” by King Ahab — the real troublemaker (I Kings 18:17, 18); the Sanhedrin accused the apostles of wrongly blaming them for the death of Jesus, when they gladly welcomed it at the time (Acts 5:28; Matthew 27:25); and Paul and his cohorts were accused of turning the world upside down and rebelling against the Roman government by envious and unbelieving Jews (Acts 17:5-7). Please note that in all cases mentioned, the false teachers and persecutors were not interested in sitting down and having a rational discussion so all could come to a reasoned conclusion and discover the truth!
We should not be surprised at the tactics of false teachers because Peter has revealed some of their ways (II Peter 2). Our duty is to expose them for what they are and keep standing for truth. (5-7-07)
Jeff, you will be about 45 min away from me. Look forward to meeting with you when you move to Alabama. Here’s my contact info:
My home is … Cell is … (5-7-07)
Here is the directory.
We are all very excited about you all coming to work with us here at Skyline Drive.
… I just made the below post to an Internet discussion list. Once again, I just do not know how so many preachers who know the truth are not speaking out against the many innovations being introduced in the church today. I, frankly, do not respect these men and such creates alienation between them and me. There are so few who are coming forward and entering the heat of the battle, it is sad! Mike Willis recently commented in Truth Magazine that the Internet is where the issues of today and the forming of respective positions is taking place. Yet, there are so few who are taking the time and willing to receive the attendant abuse in entering these exercises… (5-5-07)
Dear sister Cara,
Thank you for the email and the encouraging words in our phone conversation.
It is so encouraging to have you and Jeff standing for truth without compromise. We are so thankful and keep you in our prayers always.
Your brother and sister-in-Christ, (4-27-07)
The Simple Truth About Unity
By Gene E. Frost
The simple truth is that the Bible, God’s word, and the Bible alone, contains the answer to our problems about fellowship, unity and division. It is the divine key to unity. We do not need smarter men or a new-fangled, higher hermeneutic; we need men with greater faith and an old-fashioned, deeper trust.
The Simplicity of Unity
We unhesitatingly and confidently affirm that the unity of the faith is a unity of agreement as to the truth. That means the truth can and should be understood (Eph. 5:17), and understood alike (different understandings equate to some misunderstandings). Unity is in Christ. This means no organization, plan or doctrine that is not of Christ, that is not in his gospel, can be set forth as any part of the ground common to believers.
Confusing the Issue
Discordant sounds are expected from sectarian sources, but it is distressing and alarming when they are heard from erstwhile gospel preachers. Two ideas are now frequently emphasized, and in both there is a germ of truth, but both are deliberately promoted at the expense of pure and simple gospel precepts for unity.
(1) It is said that each local church determines who it will fellowship. This quite properly means that no alliance of preachers, school or paper can make brotherhood determinations or issue a creedal basis for fellowship. This is true. But the implication is that certain doctrines do not constitute the divine standard by which an individual or church is to make its determinations.
For example, when a specific subject comes up, and one aborts a Bible discussion by saying, “Each church makes its own decision,” it implies that each church is at liberty to decide as it pleases. That’s like interrupting a discussion on baptism by saying, “Each person must decide for himself.” That is true. But it is also true that no church or individual has the right to decide anything contrary to Scripture. If they do, though no other church or individual has the right to usurp their autonomy, they are still wrong! So the need of the hour is to study, believe, practice, preach and proclaim what Scripture says! The fact that we all decide for ourselves does not change the standard for fellowship, and should never abort a Bible discussion.
(2) “Romans 14 describes differences that should be allowed. We must tolerate different interpretations or we will wind up meeting in a bunch of telephone booths.” This is the voice of ignorance about Romans 14 coupled with the absence of conviction about divine truth.
Instead of emphasizing that fellowship and unity are based upon gospel truth, and urging fervent studies and brotherly discussions, these two ideas are being promoted to the stifling of study and to the justifying of gross departures from the faith.
Both of them, as is the case with most error, contain a germ of truth, but then completely mislead the hearer. It’s like saying everybody makes mistakes, and then finishing by saying we should not worry about repentance. The fact of mistakes, differences of understanding about something, and the fact that each church determines its own fellowship as opposed to some hierarchy doing it, does not change one simple fact – fellowship is in the light, and to claim it in darkness is to lie (I John 1:6-7), and unity with men without fellowship with God is worthless.
We must go back to the divine formula. It will work. It really will. (4-18-07)
Thanks, Jeff. (4-16-07)
Your advice is superb—focus on what GOD thinks, and the realization (this is inferred by you, I believe) that God cares not a whit about “aesthetics”, but he is profoundly concerned with the proclaiming of and adherence to “book, chapter and verse”. Thanks so much for the good advice and the prayers, which are far more valuable than bars of gold.— (4-13-07)
For the first time in my life, I am to preach a gospel meeting … It is a very strong congregation in terms of love for the truth, even though we are very much a small group… (4-11-07)
Good work again... (4-11-07)
…I have a quick question for you on MDR. Have you ever heard of the doctrine of putting the Gospels in with the Old Testament to get around Matthew 19? Some are saying the New Testament Doctrine doesn’t begin until Acts 2…
This is an article taken from the book entitled, “The Renewing of Your Mind” pages 343-348.
This was a presentation by Greg Gwin at the first Truth Magazine Annual Lectures, July 12-16, 2004 in Bowling Green, Ky. I was present!
Open Forum: Mental Divorce
The ad for this session reads: Open Forum: The Role of Civil Government in Divorce/Remarriage (Mental Divorce). However, I want it to be understood that I am NOT here to discuss the role of Civil Government in divorce and remarriage. In fact, those who suggest that the current controversy that has been labeled “mental divorce” centers on “the role of civil government in divorce/remarriage,” either: (1) do not understand the subject, or (2) are trying to divert the attention of people to a side issue.
I am here to deny the position advocated by Weldon Warnock when he wrote:
But someone asks: “What about a woman who is put away (divorced) by a man simply because the man no longer wanted to be married? Fornication is not involved and the woman repeatedly tried to prevent the divorce, but to no avail. After a couple of years the man marries another woman. Is the ‘put away’ woman then free to marry?” She certainly is, if she puts away her husband for fornication. She would have to do this before God in purpose of heart since the divorce has already taken place, legally speaking. She could not go through the process of having a legal document charging her husband with ‘adultery,’ but God would know…” (Searching The Scriptures, 11/85)…
…Concerning this, brother Rader wrote: “Shall we allow people to divorce and remarry and live in adultery and never say a word? Shall we let the preachers and teachers who encourage such relationships pass without notice? ... Those whose teaching causes others to become adulterers and adulteresses cannot be fellowshipped anymore than the adulterer or adulteress themselves” (Divorce & Remarriage: What Does The Text Say? p. 145)
I agree with brother Rader’s conclusion. (4-3-07)
The guy I sent your letter to yesterday (and copied you on) is … You may remember … as being very strong against mental divorce …
… phone number is … if you want to call him yourself. (4-1-07)
I like your replies brother.... good job! (3-31-07)
Good work, brother! Your clear presentation and appeal only to what the scriptures teach is enlightening and shows the utter fallacy of the error that they are teaching.
In reading brother Wallace’s arguments, I am hearing the same appeal to unit-in-diversity that characterizes the denominational world, as well as those who are teaching error in the Lord’s church!
Did you get the document with the articles that forwarded to you for publication on mental divorce?
We love you and are praying for you! (3-31-07)
… I have really enjoyed getting to know you, your wife and one of your sons. You have been a huge encouragement to us as a family and individually and we appreciate your strong bible teaching and advocacy for the truth … (3-31-07)
JEFF, I GOT A COPY OF YOUR E MAIL FROM … HERE, AT … CHURCH OF CHRIST, IN … THIS CONGREGATION IS AROUND 15 YEARS OLD. WE SPLIT OFF FROM ANOTHER GROUP WHO EMBRACED A MAN WHO … AND BELIEVE IT OR NOT HE HAD PUT AWAY HIS WIFE IN HIS MIND. IN OTHER WORDS, MENTAL DIVORCE … WE HAVE TRIED UNSUCCESFULLY TO GET THE OTHER GROUP TO DICIPLINE THIS MAN SO WE CAN GET BACK TOGETHER, BUT NO ONE HAS THE FORTITUDE TO DO SO…
Well said brother. Put the fire of truth to him. (3-28-07)
… First and foremost we want someone who is sound and willing to stand firm on such things as divorce and remarriage and on discipline … (3-27-07)
My name is … I currently am preaching for the … church of Christ in … I don’t know you personally, but I have certainly read some of your material and have appreciated the website you have maintained… (3-25-07)
I looked at that web site and looked at the sights they had listed… He is the one that I met a couple of months ago in … that was familiar with Jeff’s website and knew that … had written articles and said that he was happy that the battle was being fought and disturbed by how many were “taken” with the false notions.
Anyway, hope it goes well. (3-17-07)
I received this post this evening and I thought I would share it with you guys. Some other preacher sent it to me to show what Mike actually preaches on this subject …
Mike you should be ashamed of yourself for all of the false info that you are putting out. Your learning has made you mad!
I would like to know if all of the GOT people on this post believe what Mike is teaching here? If you are willing please send to me your response to my question…
When Is Divorce A Sin?
Under subtopic number two Mike wrote and preached:
a. A person may have to divorce his mate to break an unscriptural marriage (Matt. 19:9). In this case, one is divorcing for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.
b. A person may have to leave his mate to become or remain a Christian (Luke 18:29-30; 1 Cor. 7: 15; Matt. 10:34-48; Luke 14:26). In this case, one is divorcing for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.
c. A person may be in a marriage relationship in which his mate runs up bills which he has no intention of paying. In this case, one’s responsibility to God to pay one’s bills would demand that he not be supportive of his mate’s ungodly behavior (Rom. 13:8).
d. A mate may be abusive to the children (beating). A person has a responsibility to bring up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:1-4). To fulfill that responsibility, may require him to leave his mate to provide for the children.
e. There are some cases in which one must leave to have physical and emotional health. One’s obligation to serve God would require him to preserve his physical and emotional well being.
f. Sometimes a couple becomes so alienated from each other, the hostilities have reached such a point, that they must live apart.
(1) Cf. Prov. 21:9; 25:24; 1 Cor. 7:15-16.
(2) We cannot force them to stay together.
(3) The Scriptures do not teach a person that he must become a doormat to his partner to keep the marriage together. A person who becomes another’s doormat will do more to destroy his mate’s love and respect for him than about anything else he can do. A person has to maintain his own self-esteem to have proper Bible love. One is to love his neighbor “as himself” and the husband is to love his wife “as his own body” (Matt. 22:39; Eph. 5:33).
g. Obviously, there is going to have to be left some room for judgment in these matters. (Those who allow a “separation” but not a “divorce” agree that there are some areas of human judgment that we must leave for each other.)
C. Sometimes we place the blame for divorce on the wrong shoulders – we blame the mate who has reached the end of his rope in tolerating an intolerable situation and in his desperation has filed for a divorce, rather than blaming the one guilty of the ungodliness who created the intolerable circumstances.
D. If one must separate from his mate in order to serve his God, that is exactly what he should do! (3-14-07)
… Please change our email address in your address book. (3-14-07)
Don Martin to Joe Price and the email circle:
I have waited several days and I have not observed a replied from Joe Price. Joe has persisted in accusing me of misrepresenting him relative to multiple causes for divorce. I have denied that I have misrepresented Joe, but in all fairness I asked him two simple and relevant questions regarding which if he had answered, he would have been clearly understood. I pointed out to Joe that to accuse one of misrepresentation when there has been none, is to misrepresent. To persist in such involves more than just misunderstanding.
I do not know why Joe has not answered these questions. Here they are again:
1). Joe Price, do you believe and teach that there is only one acceptable cause for divorce, the cause of fornication and that to divorce for some other reason is against the scriptures, thus sin?
2). Joe Price, do you fellowship and defend those who teach divorce for a cause other than fornication?
These are not trick questions or incapable of being answered. Let me go first and answer them in the fewest words possible and set the example for Joe.
1). Don Martin, do you believe and teach that there is only one acceptable cause for divorce, the cause of fornication and that to divorce for some other reason is against the scriptures, thus sin?
Don’s answer: “Yes” and “yes.” (Matt. 5: 32, 19: 9, I Cor. 7: 2f.)
2). Don Martin, do you fellowship and defend those who teach divorce for a cause other than fornication?
Don’s answer: “No.”
I should have thought that if Joe really believed that I had misrepresented him, he would have gladly answered the two questions. I know I would have…
We teach one cause for divorce and we, like Jesus, preclude any subsequent circumstance that can allow for a “second” or mental divorcement and marriage to another (Matt. 5: 32, 19: 9, I Cor. 7: 2f.). While Joe thought we were in error, he continued for a long time to take our support and say nothing.
Needless to say, I have been very disappointed with Joe. One reason doctrinal differences are not settled is because of all these games we play and refusal to honestly face the issues.
Should Steven J. Wallace again childishly send out an email of his anterior type, I have no intention of coming down to his level. However, if Joe does answer the two questions, I reserve the right to reply.
Thank all of you again for your patience and for serving as witnesses to this correspondence. Errorists must be exposed and such correspondence is one way of doing it (see Joe’s response and my reply below). (3-6-07)
Mike Willis is now getting heat from within and without. There are still a few men in the wider GOT circle that are concerned…
I looked at Steven’s PowerPoint sermon on multiple causes and it made me sick. He not only is a false teacher, but the guy is totally abusive and out of control in his treatment of David Watts and you.
The arrogance of the GOT preachers is becoming more apparent to many brethren. Things are not going the way they thought it would. You are among the few who are applying heat to these men and you must continue.
I looked at Steven’s PowerPoint material and I was shocked. There is no question about what he and others are teaching. (3-2-07)
Don Martin to Steven J. Wallace, Joe Price, and additional recipients:
Steven has replied (below), but no word from Joe Price, yet.
I have charged Steven J. Wallace with teaching multiple causes for divorce and have invited Steven to debate (written) this matter. Here are the suggested propositions:
“The scriptures teach (NT) that there is only one cause for divorce (performed by the innocent mate) and that cause is the fornication of the guilty mate, while the marriage is in tact.”
Affirm: Don Martin
Deny: Steven J. Wallace, Joe Price?
Let’s do something a little different and have the second worded:
“Being mentally and emotionally abused, bills run up, and spiritually discouraged by a mate is scriptural reason to divorce the mate.”
Affirm: Steven J. Wallace, Joe Price?
Deny: Don Martin
Steven and Joe, we can fine turn the propositions, but let’s have your permission and agreement. O.K.? These many readers will serve as witnesses. … (3-2-07)
I am having good response to the email situation yesterday in which a debate challenge was extended to Wallace and Price. A number have already requested the PowerPoint presentation Steven has been using and has available… (3-1-07)
I too, believe there is a difference between physical adultery and mental adultery concerning the cause for divorce. I want to do an in depth study on this issue and thought I could also benefit from the studies of others. It does not seem to be a topic discussed very often (Just my impression – I had trouble finding brethren’s study on it.). I asked the question because there was a person who wrote me in my response to my article on the deception of porn. This person asserted that when your spouse partakes of pornography, this could be grounds for divorce based on Mat. 5:28.
I appreciate the comparison you made to the teaching of Mark 7:21. That is an important passage to be included in all this. I found one writer of an article who said this concerning Mat. 5:28. “Such lust does not provide grounds for divorce any more than getting angry subjects one to the death penalty (Matt. 5:22).” Interesting and helpful comparison.
Thanks for your help and charts. I will continue to study and share with you my reply when I am done.
Your servant in Christ, (3-1-07)
Do you have information, studies, debates, etc. on the doctrine that teaches that one may put away his/her mate for fornication if they commit “adultery in the heart” (Mat. 5:28). Thank you for your help.
Your servant in Christ, (3-1-07)
I appreciate your site very much. Thank you. There is such a wealth of valuable information and study material! … (3-1-07)
Please make this change of my email address in your address book.
… is now changed to … Thank you! (2-28-07)
Don Martin bidding Joe Price, Steven J. Wallace and all of you a good day:
Steven and Joe have sent emails to each other and others, emails which I would like to briefly address. At the end of my comments, I shall extend a debate offer and propositions to each or both of these men.
Steven wrote, first issuing his salutation and then a quote from me, followed by his comments:
“My good Brother Joe Price and All:
“Addendum: While I do not teach that in the case of marriage or the converse, divorce, applicable civil protocol is within and of itself marriage or divorce, respectively, I certainly teach that civil protocol is part of each. Society in general has had such civil procedure in place, one reason to establish intent, fact, and record. Without such, there is utter chaos. To charge as some have, ‘You teach the race to the court house doctrine’ is totally false, prejudicial, and deflective.” Don Martin
Amazing indeed! How wordy some have to be to seemingly make a simple point? Civil protocol is not marriage or divorce but it is absolutely required in.
“Wordy,” my, my, such does not even begin to compare to Steven J. Wallace’s PowerPoint presentation that consists of eighty slides in which Steven is teaching multiple causes for divorce. If you would like to have this presentation, let me know.
That’s fine, but the core issue is, does civil procedure regarding marriage or divorce have authority to supplant what is written in the Bible? What of the civil protocol of saying “I divorce you” three times to make the divorce final? Would Don’s understanding of civil protocol forbid or permit a woman who was divorced by her fast talking fornicating mate to every remarry? Where does civil protocol gain authority to displace what is written by God? Where does the speed of the wicked displace the right of the righteous?
Please observe the emotional arguments used by Steven J. Steven, where in scripture do emotional and situational appeals ever “supplant what is written” relative to divorcement and marriage to another? All I have consistently taught for as long as you are old is that germane civil procedure is a part of biblical marriage and divorcement. I say this primarily because Christians are to comply with the civil laws and in so doing, such further helps to establish intent and fact (cp. I Pet. 2: 13). Even you, Steven and Joe, as well as a growing number of men, must arrive at what constitutes marriage and/or divorce, admit it or not. This floating, nebulous idea relative to what is involved in biblical marriage and divorcement is nonsensical and utterly chaotic.
Steven proceeded to say:
I am disappointed that this is the best that our disgruntled brother could do. Sitting around and dreaming up false charges that we teach is pitiful and wicked.
Steven J. Wallace, here is the charge: You teach multiple causes for divorcement, a doctrine contrary to what the scriptures teach (Matt. 5: 32, 19: 9, I Cor. 7: 2f.). This is the precise charge that I have made and, again, issue. Your efforts to deflect and lead people off on an excursion will not work.
Steven quotes me and then comments:
“These men know as well as I do that just about all of these people divorcing for causes other than fornication will marry another (Matt. 19: 9). What these men are not now telling is that many of them, if not all, have beliefs that will even allow these divorcing people to marry another later, while they have a living mate.” DM
Come on … how is it that we “know all these people divorcing for causes other than fornication will marry another”?
Perhaps I have given these men too much credit. All statistics and facts of life show that the chances are most who divorce will marry another. In Steven’s haste to shout foul, he even denies this basic and established fact.
BTW, who has “beliefs that will even allow these divorcing people to marry another later.” There are no names, no references, no quotations, no answers, but just the same ole flammable false rhetoric to stir people up to foolish, strife stricken accusations.
All men who hold various forms of the mental divorcement position. How about you, Steven? Since you do not evidently see any civil connection in biblical marriage, I presume, and divorce, I know, I can easily see how you could say, “Since the first divorce was not scriptural, and Bill has now committed adultery, Jane now has the right to “really” put away Bill due to his adultery and Jane can marry another.” Why would you not say this, Steven? Or, “Bill terribly mistreated Jane and then divorced her with all her dependant babies, after Bill commits adultery, Jane can “really” put him away for fornication.” Steven, are you saying you would not say this?
If you will agree to debate me, we shall see precisely where you stand in this matter, believe me.
Call it what you will, but Don’s material is still the “he who is fastest to the courthouse determines who can/cannot remarry.”
I have abundant proof as to Steven J. Wallace teaching multiple causes for divorcement (about the same teaching as Mike Willis). Also, I have never charged Steven or Joe with presently teaching polygamy.
Where is Steven’s proof that I teach it simply comes down to who first signs the divorce papers? Steven has made a serious charge, will he prove it? If you are really Steven’s friend and brother, hold him to proving it and do not let him get away with false accusation.
The debate that I believe Steven will agree to will bring out all these nuances and positions and will fully present each of us in these matters. It will be a debate free of childish diatribe and games.
Joe Price wrote:
Check out DM’s “Addendum” at the end –
Addendum: While I do not teach that in the case of marriage or the converse, divorce, applicable civil protocol is within and of itself marriage or divorce, respectively, I certainly teach that civil protocol is part of each. Society in general has had such civil procedure in place, one reason to establish intent, fact, and record. Without such, there is utter chaos. To charge as some have, “You teach the race to the court house doctrine” is totally false, prejudicial, and deflective. Talk about “deflective” ... Amazing!
Question for DM: When did “civil protocol” become a part of marriage and divorce? (Scripture, please)
Romans 13: 1-7, I Peter 2: 13, etc. Why are these men so apparently afraid of documentation and establishment of fact? Their teaching of civil detachment results in many sad situations. I recall having a Bible study with a couple and finally asking if they were husband and wife (something made me wonder). The man said, “See the picture of our baby on the wall.” I waited. The woman said, “Brother Martin, as to your question as to whether we are husband and wife, I do not really know. We were never married and he has never even said if he thinks we are married, even common law married.” I felt so sorry for her. I turned and asked the man, “Do you believe you are married, even according to the common law provision of this state?” “No,” was his answer. She broke down in tears and my reply to her was, “You need to get out of this shack up situation and restore some dignity to your life!”
Many of the men who believe in “mental divorcement” and multiple causes, also, consistently, I might add, accept the no civil in marriage. We shall see what Steven has to say in the debate.
Brethren, friends, and interested readers, I have dealt with the doctrine of “no civil connection” for many years. I know it inside and out, doctrinally, and, what is even sadder, I know the chaos and heartache these fellows are causing. This doctrine must be challenged and refuted and these men, if they refuse to repent, exposed for their error.
Steven and Joe, I am perfectly willing for the two of you to join forces in the debate. In fact, why not invite Mike Willis to assist? I do not care if you include Ron Halbrook, Weldon Warnock, etc. (Mike refuses to debate me one on one.) We can work out the logistics later. Since www.bibletruths.net has wide exposure, I would want it published there and you could publish it to your sites, as well. There are probably others who would want to publish the debate. Perhaps we can even find a paper magazine that will also publish the debate.
Here are my proposed propositions:
“The scriptures teach (NT) that there is only one cause for divorce (performed by the innocent mate) and that cause is the fornication of the guilty mate, while the marriage is in tact.”
Affirm: Don Martin
Deny: Steven J. Wallace, Joe Price?
Let’s do something a little different and have the second worded:
“Being mentally and emotionally abused, bills run up, and spiritually discouraged by a mate is scriptural reason to divorce the mate.”
Affirm: Steven J. Wallace, Joe Price?
Deny: Don Martin
Steven and Joe, we can fine turn the propositions, but let’s have your permission and agreement. O.K.? These many readers will serve as witnesses. (2-28-07)
“Let’s All Agree To Disagree”
By Don Martin
Back in the seventies, some among us warned that with the introduction and devoted promotion of the new Ecumenical Movement that claimed to be the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer for unity in John 17: 21, many within the Lord’s church would be persuaded and unity-in-diversity would become common, even the standard among God’s people. It has happened! As it was pointed out then, so we echo the same truth today that the unity among God’s people for which Jesus prayed in the shadow of the cross was and is based on the mutual belief and acceptance of the word (John 17: 14, 17-21, 2 John 9-11).
In my current polygamy/proper interpretive method debate, I was reminded of the above. In the below quotation, one of my disputants is addressing another who posted regarding polygamy being a sin. This man who posted to the list publishing the debate did use the word “opinion” in his post, in an apparent effort to be humble, and my disputant is addressing this matter. Notice his thinking, rational, and modus operandi and the, “Let’s all agree to disagree” mentality:
“Considering the beginning of your post, after the definitions, it seems you put all of this in the realm of opinion about polygamy and marriage. When you put it that way, brother, you get me right in the same boat with you in most effective ways we would approach the polygamous man today.
I would not tell him he is sinning by having several wives because I could not... Some folks call a lot of things sin that are never addressed as sin, making up all sorts of rules to go along with their preferences, so as to bind their personal standards as law on others.... I can respect your opinion without taking it as my own, as you can do with mine. Still we are at peace and loving toward one another in the bonds of peace which are found in Christ Jesus.”
I have been debating the marriage, divorce, and marriage to another matter almost assiduously for about ten years. We are now seeing another wave of graduated error emerging: Polygamy tolerance among those claiming to be preachers of the gospel. Well, why not? Some could not tell when a person was married or divorced, due to their floating and nebulous ideas about what constituted marriage and/or divorce. Seven years ago, I debated a respected preacher who maintained that two Christians conjugally living together without what most think of as marriage was not sin and that the elders where they were members had no right to say anything to them. He did not even contend for a common law marriage circumstance. “A marriage license has nothing whatsoever to do with whether or not two people are married,” said he.
I have debated a number who have no concept of when divorce occurs. I recall one woman whom I was counseling who claimed her husband had committed adultery, all of a sudden informed me that she had a date and had begun dating. I emailed her back and asked her how she had fulfilled her state law requirements pertaining to the civil dissolution of her marriage so fast (it had only been about a month). Her reply was, “I failed to tell you that I have also been talking to brethren....(all prominent preachers in the church) and they told me, ‘It is o.k. that you go ahead and start dating, the civil divorcement has nothing to do with biblical divorcement. When you left is house, you were biblically divorced at that point in time.’” (See the addendum.)
One wave of divorce errors involved the multiple causes for divorce doctrine. I only knew of a few who taught multiple causes for divorce at the time and even one of them, Mike Willis, did not want his teaching publicly addressed (he taught it publicly, though). As a result of the deterioration of marriage in our society and the problems now seen in many local churches, more have come out of their closets, advocating multiple causes for divorce, even financial problems and emotional distress, which they interpret as “hindering one who is a Christian.” Some of them are heard saying, “We are not advocating marriage to another, just different causes for divorce.” These men know as well as I do that just about all of these people divorcing for causes other than fornication will marry another (Matt. 19: 9). What these men are not now telling is that many of them, if not all, have beliefs that will even allow these divorcing people to marry another later, while they have a living mate. Another preacher just recently announced his allegiance to the multiple causes for divorce movement, Steven J. Wallace.
While some men do not teach multiple causes for divorce, they mix and mingle with those who do. Connie Adams is a good example of this unity-in-diversity about which I am writing. Connie has become more and more involved in a working relationship with Mike Willis (now famous for his multiple causes for divorce doctrine) and others who also teach the same, all of them happily involved in the workings of the Guardian of Truth Foundation. I predicted some time ago that the Guardian of Truth Foundation would become a primary promoter of the multiple causes for divorce doctrine and such has happened. Such foundations in which Christians come together to corporately preach the gospel are believed “untouchable” and can basically teach and do what they desire because, “We are not a local church.” Hence, such entities have historically been a major source of the injection of false doctrine into the Lord’s church.
“Let’s all agree to disagree,” this is what my disputant in the polygamy debate says. I should not have any problems with him because he says that I must accept John and his five wives with whom John is conjugally living and because he accepts them (as long as civil law does not condemn them). He has no serious problem with John, his problem is with me because I maintain that polygamy is a sin and I cannot fellowship one in polygamy. One of the first to openly voice strong opposition to my teaching on multiple causes for divorce was Joe Price. He was not openly advocating what his buddy Mike Willis was teaching, but, “Don, you are causing trouble by teaching against multiple causes for divorce and you must stop this,” this was in the main his and other’s thinking (see my exchange with Joe Price in www.bibletruths.net, go to the Polemic Exchange section. Joe later agreed with the multiple cause doctrine).
No, we do not need to learn how to, “Let’s all agree to disagree” not in matters of doctrine. What we need to learn is, “Let’s all agree to agree on the teaching of God’s word and to live and teach it without compromise!” There is no end to the, “Let’s agree to disagree,” it soon allows for all sorts of error on marriage and divorce, as seen, even the allowance of polygamy and the existence of church like organizations doing the work God has assigned to his church through their own oversight and with their own treasury (I Tim. 3: 15).
Addendum: While I do not teach that in the case of marriage or the converse, divorce, applicable civil protocol is within and of itself marriage or divorce, respectively, I certainly teach that civil protocol is part of each. Society in general has had such civil procedure in place, one reason to establish intent, fact, and record. Without such, there is utter chaos. To charge as some have, “You teach the race to the court house doctrine” is totally false, prejudicial, and deflective. (2-27-07)
Thanks SO much for calling last night! Steve said he felt MUCH better after talking with you. We appreciate SO much your words of encouragement – especially knowing that y’all have been through some VERY difficult times because of your stand for the truth!
Take care and, if you don’t mind, we may be calling on your for advice or encouragement again as we work through this ordeal. Please tell Cara, Andy and Ben (if you think of it when you talk with him) that we send our greetings. (2-23-07)
Thanks, Jeff! I have forwarded the articles. Yes, I think they will answer whatever it was he was trying to ask. I am not sure if it was a straightforward question or an attempt to be facetious!
I appreciate your taking the time to send them!
Give the family my love! (2-23-07)
How would you respond to the question below? One of the people on my mailing list responded “thusly” to your article! I have to admit that I don’t know exactly what he is going for here… Maybe you do?????
Thank you so much for your words of encouragement! It REALLY helps to hear from others who have been through hard times, too…
…Thanks again for your offer of help and please continue to keep us in your prayers as we do you. (2-21-06)
Very good article, Jeff! Succinct and powerful! Of course, we know where the power is—in the Word! Those who stick to the Word and quit adding and taking away from it stand on the Rock and not the sand. I will definitely share this…
Thanks for the article. I like it a lot… (2-21-07)
Thank you for your website updates. I don’t know if you know this or not, but … is our home email address for ... We met you once or twice in Rapid City, SD… Again, thanks for the updates. (2-19-07)
… here. Hope this finds you doing well. We are fine here – putting up with a cold and snowy Feb., but the rest of our winter has been mild.
A few months ago, you sent me an email address of a preacher in Indiana that might be willing to do a Gospel Meeting for us. I can’t remember his name. Our computer crashed, so I lost your original email and was wondering if you could send it again. Sorry for the bother.
… says to tell you hello. (2-13-07)
Great job on the “Then Vs. Now” material. (2-2-07)
Jeff, please note my new e-mail address as of this week. Thanks. (2-1-07)
I am forwarding articles as fast as my little fingers will type…
I appreciate these articles. It just irks me that these men are doing so much damage with their theories. I think these people are diligently trying to find answers, and instead, they are finding false hope…
Thanks, as always, for your time and effort! I will let you know what happens.
In love, (1-30-07)
A couple has shown up at … (and has tried to show up at some other places around as well.) They have one of those tough marriage/divorce/remarriage situations where it is hard to get the details of EXACTLY what happened…
…It makes me ill that T. H.’s “doctrine” is doing so much damage, and that people who are honestly seeking the truth are swayed by it. I don’t have to ask you how you feel about it….
All my best, (1-30-07)
Hope you all are well. How’s the work there?
I’ve finally gotten moving a bit on writing some things about this multiple-causes… (1-24-07)
…The Internet has potential such as we have never heretofore seen. Before, the Mike Willis’ could dominate, having hardcopy publications and controlling what went into print for wide distribution. The Internet has really changed this advantage. I imagine this is one reason Mike said they (Truth Magazine) would not address current issues. I am glad that I have lived to see the day that the advantage of these guys has been taken away from them. (1-11-07)
Thank you Jeff for the information…
Keep up the fine work that you are doing with the website. (1-10-07)
…God bless you, brother Jeff, now and always. (1-3-07)
Dear brothers Jeff and David,
Thank you for your prayers, suggestions on the articles, and stance for truth; may God receive the glory… (12-23-06)
…I will be praying for you to continue in the good work the Lord has for you. I hope you do not grow discouraged. The bible says it is possible to grow weary in well doing.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
2 Thessalonians 3:13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.
I enjoy every time we have the opportunity to talk, to share about the word and the work you are doing. I hope that we will all accept and learn God’s truth in everything and lay aside our own preconceived notions, think-so’s and how we would prefer God’s word to be and simply understand it and surrender to the authority of God’s word. I know it is frustrating, but keep up the good work. Keep preaching the whole gospel of God. Speak as the oracles of God. Do well and teach the truth. Things will turn and folks will listen and straighten up eventually. Others will go their own way, and that is the nature of this life, and the fundamental choice we all make.
I wish there was something I could say to encourage you. People like you are so important in the work that you do. You will change lives and minds. The word is a sword and we are to wield it. We are to cast down arguments:
2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (New King James Version) 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
You are certainly doing that well.
Keep the faith. We will be praying for you. Keep your chin up. Remember the bible and the Lord’s church is full of imperfect people. That the Shepherd has to protect the sheep, feed the sheep, and sometimes chase after the ones who have wandered or run off. You have been given a wonderful opportunity to learn, study, and share God’s word. In a lot of instances you may not see the direct fruit of your labors. But if you are sowing the Word of God, God has said His word will not return void, but will accomplish what He has set for it. Sow, water, and God will give the increase.
Sow by the wayside, in the crags, by the rocks, on the open ground, and in the good soil. Keep sowing as much as you can…
Keep up the Good Fight!!! (12-19-06)
Great stuff, big brother Jeff! Thanks for the info, and for your continued great example… (12-19-06)
I hope you are doing well. Excellent work on all of the slides and the website… (12-19-06)
Dear brother Belknap,
I just looked at the thorough power point presentation that you put together refuting the error that brother Mike Willis is teaching and all can say is WOW and OUTSTANDING, BROHTER! It was so encouraging to read…
…I am absolutely going to refute and deal with the error that Tom and Bobby are teaching…
…God bless you, brother and please know that your love of the truth and your God-given talents in exposing error is more encouraging than you know.
Your brother, friend, and fellowservant, (12-16-06)
Thanks much... (12-15-06)
Many thanks Jeff, (12-14-06)
Awesome, thanks… (12-14-06)
Well done and thorough, but I’m guessing this is at least two or three lessons!!! 107 slides...amazing.
Willis sure is persistent in his error, and it saddens me that his cohorts are defending HIM and not TRUTH. Seems like we saw this pattern about 20 years ago with someone named Homer Hailey, didn’t we? If I recall, THEN they complained [rightly so] that defending false teachings and false teachers would lead to further errors. I guess they knew that because they were going to follow the pattern! NOW what are they doing? THE EXACT SAME THING!!
Hope you’re staying warm! (12-14-06)
Didn’t get all the way through – but looks real good....
Can I share a copy with… (12-14-06)
I have a section on my website addressing this issue. Brother Ed Bragwell spoke here a few months ago and I now have his outline, audio and the article that was published in GOT posted here: http://uvachurch.powweb.com/RedefiningMDR.htm
You may use any of this or link to it. I plan to add more material later. (12-14-06)
Thanks so much. I was just reading this book yesterday while I was waiting at a car dealership. I am anxious to examine your slide presentation.
By the way, do you have a ppt.presentation and/or outline on Romans 7:1-4? If so, would you be so kind as to forward my way? (12-14-06)
Would you be so kind to either call me or send me your home number so I can call you? I would like to ask you a question. (12-11-06)
Thank you so very much my brother...I really do appreciate the work you have done for years concerning the MDR issue. I believe people could comprehend the whole situation so much better if they would just let the Bible speak to them instead of them speaking to the Bible. Again, thank you Jeff for your help.
Thanks bro...I’m not ready to go public with the little e-paper yet....but when/if I do – I’d be delighted to have you link to it, and of course would love to put some of your articles in it.
I love the website model of course – you’ve really mastered that. You’ve combined it nicely with both a push (email update) and a pull (website content).... Maybe there’s room for an e-paper that’s finally done the right way (in my humble opinion).
Take care, (9-23-06)
…Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!! I Hope this finds all of you well and happy…I think I told you all about the meeting in…The preacher does not agree with Mile Willis…
In Christian love, (11-23-06)
…Our attention has been called to several recent examples of “speaker superiority”— where the speaker felt insulted if his conclusions were questioned, and refused to engage in “equal time” studies of the matter, even in privacy. In some cases a public “I disagree” is supposed to answer scriptural arguments — and for those who accept public pronouncements as final authority, this may be the end of further investigation — but God will have the final word…
Brethren, we are deep into an era of questioning and investigation; of renewed interest in private study. If we have half the confidence we claim to have in our teaching and practice, we will encourage rather than squelch objective Bible testing…. (11-20-06)
Dear brother Jeff:
I love and appreciate and admire you tremendously. Feel free to e mail and/or call me anytime…
Much appreciation, (11-17-06)
Please change my address to … in your address book… (11-15-06)
Please update your address book to remove my old email address … and include my new email address …
Dear brother Jeff,
Here is a copy of the charges that the … congregation has levied against … and me and our initial response to their false charges. We love you brother and thankful for your stance for truth!
Your brother and friend, (11-8-06)
Brother Jeff, if I am “off” on this one, do let me know, but I strongly believe that I am right on what I typed out below. I feel so strongly about it that I am forwarding this one to several different parties that I know….
I love your website, and all the best to “you and yours”, now and always (11-8-06)
…I have heard for a few years the prediction that churches of Christ will disappear within fifty years or so unless some changes are made. This is said by those who want to make some radical changes. They try to frighten us into accepting such changes by impressing us with the terrible results of the “status quo.” …
I readily admit that churches have “declined” in several ways within the past few years. The churches are fewer with a lower membership. But, offering a watered down gospel to please the masses is not the remedy that will turn everything around…
There have always been periodic apostasies that have left fewer churches with smaller memberships. Jesus warned in Matthew 24 of those who would appear before the destruction of Jerusalem, false prophets who would lead many astray. Paul told the elders of Ephesus, Acts 20:17ff, that there would arise those from within the eldership itself who would speak perverse things and draw away disciples after them. He also spoke, Galatians 1:6-10, of those in Galatia who had turned away from the gospel of Christ to a false one. He warns about these teachers several times in the letter. He left Timothy at Ephesus, I Timothy 1:3, to charge certain men not to teach a “different doctrine.” This is a doctrine different from the one Paul had preached, Galatians 1:6-9. In chapter 4, he said that the time was coming when some would fall away from the faith…
At the same time, Paul said that there must be divisions among us that the righteous be manifest, I Corinthians 11:19. False teachers must be opposed, false doctrine exposed and those who continue in sin must be rejected. Lines must be clearly drawn when error and immorality appear…
In fifty five years of preaching I have not seen such wholesale ignorance on the part of so many people. I mean ignorance of the Scriptures. Of course this can be found in the first century, such as Hebrews 5:11-14 and so many other passages. Too many people are not applying time to study and growth. Too many are acting on personal opinion or worldly desires. And, it isn’t just the people in the pew. Too many preachers are not studying and thus growing in knowledge and wisdom…
Society has changed over the past fifty years. There is more open ungodliness, immorality and skepticism. There are too many pursuits that appeal to the flesh and destroys the ability to win the battle of spirit over flesh…
In John 14:21-24, Jesus details that “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.” In I John 2:3-5, John says we cannot know God unless we keep His commandments and “whoso keepeth his word, in him verily hath the love of God been perfected.” There are other scriptures that say the same, even Paul said, in II Thessalonians 2:10, that some apostates “received not the love of the truth that they might be saved.” And, Jesus said, “Sanctify them in thy truth, thy word is truth,” John 17:17. So, some do not have a love for God’s word and cannot be saved unless they do. There is more to love than just an emotional feeling. If one loves the sinner, he will tell him what he needs to hear, not what he would like to hear. We cannot be loose with the word of God and cover up the laxity with a sugary view of love.
Jesus said it would be the few as compared with the many who would enter into heaven. I am quite comfortable with a minority…
Our loyalty is to the Lord and His word. We can’t go beyond it or fall short of it. We can’t add to it or take from it. We can’t turn to the right hand nor the left. We must do all that the Lord our God has commanded... (10-31-06)
I have not had the pleasure to meet you, but am encouraged by your faithfulness.
My mane is … and got this info on your stand from my brother.
I have only one comment for those who advocate error and would browbeat others who stand for the truth. DO YOU NOT KNOW OR UNDERSTAND WHAT THE SCRIPTURE SAITH? Jesus himself stated in God’s Word—“If you LOVE ME you will keep my commandments.” These false teachers are self-willed and lack love for God’s Holy Word and Jesus.
May God & Jesus & the Spirit give you continued strength to fight the Good Fight of Faith.
Your brother in Christ, (10-27-06)
Just wanted to make sure I had your email. I am working on a tract summarizing various mdr views and answering them. Trying to be succinct – make it easier for everyone. Once I get it set up properly, I’d like to ask your thoughts on it.
In Him, (10-23-06)
…He created one man for one woman for life (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:3-12; 1 Corinthians 7:1ff.). All deviations from that fundamental norm… contribute to the breakdown of the ethical fabric of society… (10-23-06)
… who is 45 now (I’ve known him since he was 11), is …., and the names of the false teachers he sent you is, if anything, shorter than reality. However, these are the ones he can certify (with me backing his judgment from my personal experience with them). Actually, there are more, but these are some of the most prominent and in that sense, worse.
Jeff, I am attaching here a series of short articles I’ve written…
Thanks again for adding me to your list. (10-22-06)
Please include these people in your list. Most of them belong to Ron Halbrook’s core group here in …
…it is okay with me as long as you up date me with your website, I appreciate it very much.
May God bless you and keep you.
Your brother in Christ, (10-19-06)
…just forwarded to me some fine material from you. I like what I saw, as brief as the glance was.
How do I get on your E Mail list to receive more?
Don’t have your email anymore so I wondered if this would work. (10-19-06)
Thank you for the update. I been reading all the articles on your web site. You did an excellent job exposing the “false teachers who are accusing others as false teachers.”
These false teachers you are issuing on your website are those people who roam around our country accusing that those who do not belong to their group are false teachers.
It is so sad, that we among the “churches of Christ” are biting each other.
Here in …, I am trying to isolate myself from those people and be content working for the Lord by preaching the Gospel… (10-18-06)
We Have A Right Answered!
By Gene Frost
is nearly completed and ready to send to the printer. Release date should be somewhere close to the first of September. Until August 31 — just three more weeks — we will honor pre-publication orders. Thereafter, purchases must be at full retail. Any order postmarked later than August 31, 2006 will be filled and billed for the difference. Orders must be within the continental U.S.A.
Pre-publication special is $12.00, postage paid. Payment must accompany order. (No bookstore orders at this special price.)
Order from: Gene Frost • 712 Victoria Place • Louisville, KY 40207 (10-17-06)
Wayne Partain in the February 2001 issue of The Preceptor, “One thing is for sure: if Matt. 5:32; 19:9 is not clear, then neither are Mark 16:16 and Acts 2:38. No scripture is clear to the person who is determined not to accept it.” (10-17-06)
What say ye?
I would like for you to take this outline supplied to me by Don Martin and explain your teaching on this subject.
It is obvious that someone is teaching error! Why not debate Don and then we can all hear for ourselves what you have to say on the matter?
Thanking you in advance …
To Whom It May Concern:
The below is a sermon outline by Mike Willis. He preached multiple causes for divorce in the Denver, Co. area, where I preach, during a meeting in 2004. Mike’s belief relative to multiple causes for divorce such as a mate incurring financial debt and/or spiritual incompatibility is a well established fact. Mike does not, to my knowledge, advocate marriage to another following these “extra” causes for divorce. However, it is a fact that most people will marry another. The scriptures teach one and only one cause for divorce, fornication (Matt. 5: 32, 19: 9). A divorce for any other reason is sinful (I Cor. 7: 2, Matt. 5: 32). Notice Mike’s outline, II. “If She Depart, Let Her Remain Unmarried (I Cor. 7: 11, 3),” a-g:
When Is Divorce A Sin?
A. In recent weeks, most of us have discussed among ourselves what the Scriptures teach about divorce and remarriage… (10-9-06)
…I just made the following post to Bible Matters, an Internet list. We shall see what develops. Unlike Mike Willis, Ron Halbrook, and some others, I experience an obligation to respond when I am challenged and accused of teaching destructive error… (10-5-06)
How’s life going? Here we are doing pretty good. We just finished having a Gospel Meeting with … from … I did have a question for you. Could you recommend a good gospel preacher for our Spring meeting? We would like someone who is sound in the truth – especially the marriage issue as that is becoming quite a hot topic in our area. We are also hoping to have you plan to return in the Spring of 2008 if you would be willing.
We are all well. Everyone sends their love… (10-3-06)
It would be nice for you to answer one of my questions? I’ve been asking this forever and you never answer it. You just make fun.
Will you print this article in your … post that you send out each week. It seems that you took great pride in trying to close down the … list so let’s see what you can do with what this article says.
Ephesians 4:4-6. The sin of religious division is one, if not the greatest, hindrance to the Lord’s cause today! The Bible is God’s revealed will to man and points to the necessity of UNITY among men. When men follow God’s revealed will they will be united. Division occurs when men reject God’s will. For Unity to exist, there must be a Standard (a body of Truth) to which all men must comply. God is the source of All Truth (John 8:32; 17:17). God revealed this Truth through Jesus Christ (John 7:16; 12:48-50; Heb. 1:1, 2; John 14:6). Jesus revealed this Truth to His Apostles (John 17:8, 17, 20, 21). After Jesus ascended back to heaven, the Holy Spirit came to guide the Apostles and other men in recording this body of Truth and we have it today in the written word of God (John 14:26; 16:13; Acts 2:1-5; II Tim. 3:16,17; Jude 3: Gal. 1:6-12).
The Standard to which all men must comply is the Law of Christ (Gal. 6:2; I Cor. 9:21), which is: the Truth (John 17:17; 8:32); the Gospel (Rom. 1:16); the Faith (Jude 3; Acts 6:7; 13:7,8; Rom. 5:1; Gal. 3:26,27); Sound Doctrine (Titus 2:1); the Doctrine of Christ (II John 9-11). Unity is achieved by all those who accept and follow God’s standard — The Truth.
What Is Bible Unity? The word “Unity” is from the Greek word enotas — “One, unity, unanimity, agreement” (Thayer p.217). The New World Dictionary defines UNITY as “The state of being one, or united; oneness; singleness....” Unity is different from “Union” which is a “combination...a combining, joining, or grouping together...” (New World Dictionary). Religious Unity has been falsely associated with: Diversity — “quality, state, fact, or instance of being diverse; difference;” Diverse — “different; dissimilar;” Diversion — “a diverting, or turning aside” (New World Dictionary). This is what most of the so-called “unity Movements” today are — diversions!
What Bible Unity Is NOT: 1) Unity is NOT “Union.” 2) Unity is NOT “Diversity.” 3) Unity is NOT “Agreeing to disagree.” 4) Unity is NOT “Going along to get along.” 5) Unity is NOT “Turning one’s back and ignoring the difference.” 6) Unity is NOT “Ecumenical cooperation.”
Bible Unity involves Oneness, Singleness, Truth, Harmony: I Peter 3:8, “Be ye all of one mind.” Phil. 2:5, Having the mind of Christ. John 17:20, 21, As God and Christ are one. In I Cor. 1:10, Paul told the Corinthians that by the authority of Christ, they were all to “speak the same thing,” “that there be no divisions among you,” “that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
The Need For Unity: Man, in general, has always rejected Unity and promoted Division. Denominationalism promotes religious division. Liberal minded brethren promote division in the church. Contentious, “opinion binding” brethren promote division in the church.
Division is Sinful. By it’s very nature, division weakens and destroys. “United we stand, divided we fall.” “...Every Kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation: and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matt. 12:25). Internal division weakens and sometimes destroys congregations of the Lord’s people (Gal. 5:15). Religious division is possibly the greatest hindrance to the cause of Christ (John 17:20, 21). The Bible condemns division (Gen. 13:8; Prov. 6:16-19; Matt. 12:25; Rom. 16:18; I Cor. 1:10-13; I Cor. 3:3; I Cor. 12:25; James 3:13-16). All Bible passages that demand Unity, by implication, condemn division.
Some Causes of Division. First, a “self-willed” attitude causes division. One who is dominated by self-interest (a desire to please self) (Rom. 16:18; Titus 1:7; Gal. 1:10). Second, a contentious attitude of “rule or destroy” causes division, a greed for authority, pre-eminence (III John 9). Contentious individuals cause strife and division (I Cor. 1:11; Titus 3:9,10; Rom. 2:5-9). Third, a lack of respect for and knowledge of the Word of God as authority in religion causes division (Col. 3:17; I Peter 4:11; I Thess. 5:21). This is following the traditions and creeds of men (Mark. 7:7-9; I Cor. 3:3). This is following human names (I Cor. 1:12, 13) and human doctrines (I Tim. 1:3; II John 9-11). Fourth, rebellion against the Truth of God lies at the root of all division (I Tim. 4:1-3; II Tim. 4:1-5).
Defending the Truth and exposing error DOES NOT cause division, but rather promotes Unity. As Elijah stated in I Kings 18:18, forsaking the commandments of God causes division. Compare: Phil. 1:17; Jude 3; Eph. 5:11; II Tim. 4:2-5.
Unity is good, right, and pleasant (Psalm 133:1). There is strength and success in Unity. The strong and successful church in Jerusalem was united (Acts 4:32). An essential ingredient to the growth of the church is Bible Unity. The Bible commands unity (John 17:20,21; I Cor. 1:10; II Cor. 13:11; Phil. 1:27; Phil. 2:2; I Peter 3:8).
There are Attitudes and Actions necessary To Unity: In Ephesians 4:1-3, Paul speaks of the unity that is to characterize our attitude and life: “...Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” “Vocation” (klaseos) — A “calling” which involves that manner of conduct or way of living into which God has called us through the Gospel (II Thess. 2:14): 1) A High Calling (Phil. 3:14). 2) A Holy Calling (II Tim. 1:9). 3) A Heavenly Calling (Heb. 3:1). We are to walk “worthy” (adverb of manner — worthily). Our life and conduct must become the Gospel. (Compare: Rom. 16:2; Phil. 1:27; Col. 1:10; I Thess. 2:12).
Our lives are to be characterized by “Lowliness” — Humility — (v.2). Jesus is an example of lowliness (Matt. 11:28-30; John 13:3-17; Phil. 2:3-9). We must practice lowliness (James 4:6; I Peter 5:6; Romans 12:3). How does one develop Lowliness? 1) Look into your spiritual mirror (James 1:23-25); 2) Compare yourself to Christ (II Cor. 10:12; Eph. 5:1,2; II Cor. 3:18).
Humility is necessary to Unity. Our lives are to be characterized by “meekness” — submission (v.2), which is the strength to control one’s actions — self discipline (James 1:19-21; cf. I Peter 3:4, 15; James 3:13; Gal. 5:22, 23; 6:1). Also “longsuffering” — (v.2) — “To suffer long” — patient (II Tim. 4:1, 2), a spirit that never gives up (James 5:10; Rev. 2:10; I Peter 5:10; cf. Gal. 5:22; I Cor. 13:4; Col. 3:12). “Forbearing one another in love” (v.2), means “to bear with” — the practical application of longsuffering (# 3115) the attitude put in action (cf. Col. 3:13). “In love” regulates all of a Christian’s attitude toward others. We must give diligent effort to keep unity and peace in the church (v.3) (cf. Col. 3:15; Rom. 12:18). We serve the God of peace (I Thess. 5:23; I Cor. 14:33). Our Lord is the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6; Eph. 2:14). The church is a Kingdom of Peace (Rom. 14:17, 19). The Gospel is the Gospel of Peace (Eph. 6:15).
We must not compromise truth to have peace and unity. When truth is compromised, there can be no peace and unity. We endeavor to keep the unity God describes in Ephesians 4:4-6.
GOD’S PLAN FOR UNITY. “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Eph. 4:4-6).
All must worship and serve the ONE GOD (cf. I Cor. 8:6; Heb. 11:6; Matt. 4:10; John 4:23, 24). We cannot have unity with one who worships and serves another god.
All must submit to the authority of the ONE LORD (cf. I Cor. 8:5, 6; Acts 2:36; 10:36; John 8:23, 24; Heb. 1:1-3; Matt. 28:18; Acts 3:22, 23; 17:5). To submit to Him as Lord is to obey Him (Luke 6:46; Heb. 5:8, 9). We cannot have unity with one who rejects the authority of the One Lord!
All must believe and obey the Truth revealed by the ONE SPIRIT (cf. John 16:13; I Cor. 2:13; II Peter 1:20, 21; II Tim. 3:16, 17; Rom. 8:1-5). We cannot have unity with one who rejects the Truth revealed by the One Spirit (II Thess. 2:10-12).
All must desire the ONE HOPE (v.4). Hope is a longing desire of confident expectation. The main object of Hope is eternal life in heaven (I Peter 1:3, 4; Heb. 6:17-19; Rom.8:24; Titus 1:2; I John 2:25; Rom. 12:12; II Tim. 4:6-8). There is only One Hope, thus only one way to go to heaven. We are called into this one hope by the Gospel (II Thess. 2:14; II Thess. 1:7-9). We cannot have unity with one who does not desire the One Hope!
All must believe and teach the ONE FAITH (cf. Jude 3; Acts 6:7; Gal. 1:23). The One Faith is the same as the Gospel (Phil. 1:17, 27; Rom. 1:16; 10:17; I Cor. 15:1-4). We cannot have unity with one who does not believe and teach the One Faith (cf. I Cor. 1:10; Phil. 2:2; I Peter 4:11; Gal. 1:6-9; I John 4:1; II John 9-11; Rom. 16:17, 18).
All must practice the ONE BAPTISM (v.5). There had been other baptisms in the past: 1) unto Moses (I Cor. 10:1-3), 2) John’s baptism (Acts 19:1-5), 3) Baptism of suffering (Matt. 20:22, 23), 4) of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11), 5) there will be a baptism of fire in the future (Matt. 3:10-12). But, when Paul wrote Ephesians (A.D. 62, 63), there was only one baptism. Jesus had commanded it and it was/is to last unto the end of the world (Matt. 28:18-20).
The one baptism is a burial in water for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3, 4). It is administered by man (Matt. 28:19, 20). It puts one into Christ where salvation is (II Tim. 2:10; Gal. 3:26, 27; Mark 16:16). We cannot have unity with one who rejects the One Baptism!
All must be in the ONE BODY (v.4; cf. I Cor. 12:13; Rom. 12:4-5; I Cor. 12:27; Eph. 5:30). The One Body is the “one church” (Eph. 1:22, 23; Col. 1:18; Matt. 16:18). Jesus is the Savior of the “one body” (Eph. 5:23). We cannot have unity with one who is not in the One Body!
Let us all endeavor “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace!” Not by compromising “union meetings” that are falsely called “unity movements.” But, by following God’s plan for unity. Every Christian is obligated to help maintain unity, peace, and harmony in the church, in keeping with God’s plan!
Jimmy W. Bates
…I am working on a two-part exegesis of Bobby’s lesson on marriage and divorce. Part one would deal with when a divorce occurs and part two would deal with his assertion that one can divorce their mate “for the sake of the kingdom”.
May God bless you and keep you! My prayers are with you!
Your brother and friend, (9-28-06)
Proverbs 26:7-8, “The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools. 8 As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.”
Proverbs 28:4, “They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law CONTEND with them.” cf. Jude 3-4; Ephesians 5:11, 13 (9-25-06)
Dear brother Jeff,
The articles you sent to … were timely and sound, as always…
We pray for you and your family as you stand for the truth. Keep up the good work, my brother!
Your brother and friend, (9-23-06)
Thanks Jeff. (9-22-06)
I would like your explanation of 1 Cor 7:10-11 … (9-21-06)
… After that sermon, Brother … preached a sermon that every divorce is sinful except for the one exception, where he declared Brother Holmes a false teacher. So do you agree with Brother … position of every divorce is sinful except the one exception? (9-21-06)
Hello dear Jeff:
I am in the process of taking the entire series … and re-phrasing some sentences for smoother reading, and submitting the article to J.T.’s paper. When the article appears in GOSPEL TRUTHS, you may then use it on your web site.
…I love you brother, and perhaps one day we can share a meal in the middle of …
Hope to meet you one day, (9-18-06)
Just finished a meeting with the good brethren at the … congregation in … The final lesson dealt with the false teaching being done by Ron H. and Tim H. as well as others. Many were shocked, but the truth was well received. A couple from … came down for the last lesson, and were determined to get the word out as best they could to warn about these false teachers. I referred those interested to your website so they didn’t have to rely on me, and could read the evidence for themselves. We pray that this will help those who love the truth to combat the spread of the error that seems to have such a strong foothold in the …, thanks to Ron and Bobby Holmes, and others.
Have you seen the latest issue of “Walking In Truth?” Tom O’Neal spends a lot of time trying to prove that you are a sinner who is trying to divide brethren and needs to repent! Kind of sounds like he has the “spirit of Ahab.” If you don’t get this paper, let me know and I will gladly scan the whole thing in and send it to you. It is very sad to see a man … lowering himself to name calling in a desperate attempt to justify his cronies. Kind of obvious who he is defending, since the article that follows his MDR article is written by Ron!
Keep the faith! I don’t know if I have ever told you this or not, but I have even heard some who agree with you criticizing the fact that you have a WHOLE WEB SITE devoted to MENTAL DIVORCE! But, here is what I tell them:
“If there was an Internet in the days of Roy Cogdill when he was fighting the Institutionalism in the church, do you suppose that he would neglect such a valuable tool for exposing error and getting the truth out to the most people possible? Slim chance! I knew Roy from the time I was a baby, and I guarantee that he would have had www.institutionalism.com set up and filled it with quotes from those who were espousing error, and those who were trying to stay in the middle of the road! If anyone doubts this, go back and read the exchanges that took place in the papers of the day on the subject. The fact is that those who have the courage and determination to expose error and sound the warning are always going to take the heat. Roy was branded a “radical” and a “hobby rider,” but that didn’t stop him from doing what had to be done. May God continue to give you the courage to “sound the warning” and proclaim the truth!
Dear Bro. Jeff,
Would you be interested in holding a gospel meeting for the brethren here in …? If you would, please let me know and we will work it out. I want to say, I recently became aware of your web site on mental divorce. God bless your heart and efforts. I only wish I would have known of it sooner. I can’t think of a more abused subject. Your work is golden.
In Christian love, (9-15-06)
Please take note of my new “temporary” email address. …
The book “We Have A Right” is nothing but a personal attack on a brother, & is certainly not a scriptural defense of their Individual Missionary Society. The Guardian Foundation has no right to act as an individual missionary society, nor does Florida College. I attended the first Lectureship and initially thought it was really a good thing, until I did some serious study and reflection, and began to realize how dangerous their actions are. I believe they are divisively sinful in their arrogance, in giving their personal tirades and attacking any brother who publicly opposes them.
Respectfully, … (9-11-06)
Several readers recently applauded your website for contending for the faith.
Do I not need to make a distinction between the faith – the written word, and my faith – my understanding of the word?
If I hold that the faith is what I believe, have I not changed the basis of understanding from the word to my thinking? How, then, could I learn anything? Rolf (9-5-06)
Dear brother Rolf,
Your words seem to imply that one cannot know “the faith.” Paul preached “the faith” (Gal. 1:23; cf. Eph. 3:3-5). Therefore, when one teaches (as I have) that “whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery” (Luke 16:18) and “Let not the wife depart from her husband,” I Corinthians 7:10 (“saving for the cause of fornication,” cf. Matthew 5:32), they are not teaching their own personal faith (“understanding,” Eph. 3:3-5, 5:17), but “the faith.”
Neither my own nor anyone else’s faith has any bearing on “the faith.” However, when one’s own faith is simply an acknowledgement of “the faith,” there is no distinction between them. “The faith” has become their own faith (cf. Rom. 1:16-17; 10:17), as God would have it.
Is “he who believeth and is baptized shall be saved” and example of “the faith” or your own faith? I hope it is both!
I am not denying that one's own faith can be misguided. Thus, if you believe that there is a distinction between my understanding of the word (as evidenced by my writing) and “the faith,” then please point out the scriptures that contradict my teaching reflected in the above quotes.
I hope you will bear with me, Jeff.
As I read arguments on both sides of this issue, I find those on both sides referring to MT.19:9 stating things like, “Jesus said the man who puts away his wife for fornication is free to remarry.”
Of course, that is not the wording of MT.19:9, but rather a conclusion (with which I'm sure we both agree) derived from its wording. Is it not, therefore, more proper to state that that is what Jesus taught?
The difference I see in this has to do with the way the mind assimilates things. Saying Jesus taught it forces the mind to review the reasoning used to reach the conclusion, whereas thinking Jesus said it skips over the reasoning.
Since what we believe is based upon multiple understandings deduced from what is written, is it not important (for both sides) in study to rethink the reasoning used to reach our conclusions? Rolf
Dear brother Rolf,
Please bear with me, also. Yes, it is “proper” for one to state that Jesus taught that “the man who puts away his wife for fornication is free to remarry” when they are speaking of the one who sunders the “one flesh” relationship (i.e. puts away - Cf. Mt. 19:3, 6, 9; Cp. w. Mt. 5:31-32). However, it is NOT “more proper” to teach that truth to the exclusion of what is taught in the latter halves of those verses.
It is also proper as well as needful, to state Jesus' teaching that “whoso marrieth her which IS put away doth commit adultery” when speaking of the one who IS put away (whether lawfully or not - Mt. 5:32b; 19:9b; Lk. 16:18b).
Do you not agree that WHO Jesus is addressing is important? Obviously, the one who “is put away” is NOT the one who “putteth away.” When considering the Lord’s teaching in the first halves of Matthew 5:32 and 19:9, we read about the one (man or woman, not both) who puts away (i.e. who sunders the “one flesh” relationship).
Then, in the second halves of those verses, Jesus teaches regarding the one (man or woman, not both) who IS put away (after the fact). The right to marry another is only given to the one who puts away (i.e. sunders the “one flesh” relationship) “for fornication.” Contrariwise, the put away person spoken of in the SECOND halves of those verses always commits adultery upon marriage to another unless their bound mate has died (Romans 7:2-3; I Cor. 7:39).
To claim that the one who “is put away” can become the one “who putteth away” in these verses makes about as much sense as claiming that the woman (who is spoken of in these verses) can become the man.
Moreover, in all the verses which address putting away, there is only ONE sundering of a marriage discussed, regardless of the cause! To teach more than this is an addition to God’s word.
I John 1:9 teaches us that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The Baptists would see this verse as the plan of salvation for ALL, including those who have never been immersed “for the forgiveness of sins.” They might even say – “Is it not, therefore, more proper to state that that is what Jesus taught” in His word, and “Since what we believe is based upon multiple understandings deduced from what is written, is it not important (for both sides) in study to rethink the reasoning used to reach our conclusions?,” as you said.
Yet you and I both know that I John 1:9 pertains to obedient believers (John included himself), not those who have never been born again. The Baptists not only ignore the CONTEXT of I John 1, but must also distort the truth in other passages such as Acts 2:38, Mk. 16:16 etc. to bolster their “understanding.”
The problem with both the Baptists and those who claim that the put away can “put away for the cause of fornication” and be “free to marry another” is that they both seek to apply scriptures to individuals to whom they do not pertain. Moreover, they ignore the contexts that address the people in question. The CONTEXTS of both Mt. 5:31-32 and 19:3-6, 7-9 prove that Jesus was addressing those who were still in a physical, “one flesh” relationship (i.e. those who were “married” - Cf. Deut. 24:1; see also I Cor. 7:10-11).
Unlike the teaching of some brethren today, “the faith” speaks NOTHING (cf. Heb. 7:14) of the ability of one who has been wrongfully put away (or departed from) to “put away!” Therefore such a supposition is an unauthorized (Cf. Col. 3:17) invention of man.
REMEMBER: Jesus equated putting away with putting asunder or separating the “one flesh” relationship (Mt. 19:3-6, 7-9; cf. I Cor. 7:10-11). Moreover, He undoubtedly taught that the “one flesh” relationship could be wrongfully separated, in spite of the continued divine obligation (see also Rom. 7:2-3; I Cor. 7:39).
Luke 16:18 addresses this very scenario: “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: AND whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” In this verse, the husband put away his wife, then married another, thereby committing ADULTERY. And yet, “the faith” still teaches that the man who marries this unfortunate put away woman (whose original husband became an adulterer after divorcing her) would become an adulterer himself.
You stated, “Since what we believe is based upon multiple understandings deduced from what is written, is it not important (for both sides) in study to rethink the reasoning used to reach our conclusions?” However, my objection to the doctrine of post-divorce “putting away” for post-divorce fornication and marriage to another is that it is NOT “written” anywhere in the Bible! Moreover, this invention of man is the basis for his intent to approve of marriages which the Lord plainly said would result in “adultery.”
If you can provide “a thus saith the Lord” (i.e. something from that which “is written”) for post-divorce “putting away” for post-divorce fornication, I’d be glad to “rethink” the reasoning used to reach my conclusions. Until that time, I will neither “think” nor “rethink” beyond that which is written (I Cor. 4:6; II Cor. 10:5).
… called and talked with … last night. He gave … the name of an older preacher to call in …. Jerry called him and was able to get the information that we needed. I must say that most of the information wasn’t what we would have liked to hear, but it helped our friends weed out some of the congregations. The church in … is one of the congregations that we were advised to stay away from.
Thank you for your help in getting this information.
In Christian love, (9-3-06)
…Do you know … from …? If so, do you know how he stands on the MDR issue? I found that he is scheduled to hold a meeting in … this fall.
We do appreciate the stand you have taken for the truth and appreciate the website update that you recently sent to us. … checks every week to see if you have added any new articles.
Thank you very much for continuing to try to get information about the … area churches…
We told our friends about …, but they haven’t visited there yet. We didn’t know about the … church. Do you know who preaches there? There is also a church in …, which is close to … Since he is one of the staff writers for Truth Magazine, we expect him to be wrong on the MDR issue.
… called and talked with … from … a couple of weeks ago. He said all the congregations are good and did not warn against any of them...
I strongly disagree with Ron Halbrook’s teachings on divorce and remarriage…
Again thank you very much for assisting us. (9-1-06)
Just my thoughts.
Was really stunned when I saw that cover. Its like they’re trying to look like Good Housekeeping or something… (8-30-06)
I just had a chance to look at the cover of the Truth Magazine that … scanned. Wow.
They sure are trying to look fashionable and “hip” aren’t they?
Would be interesting to show a contrast. See attached scan. Looks like one was really designed to appeal to a person interested in deep Bible study. Looks like another is really designed to appeal to a person’s feelings and emotions (“they really understand me!”) (8-29-06)
Thanks for the updates - always good reading on your site. One of the members here would like to be added to your mailing list. …
… We WILL get together one of these days. It just never seems to stop for any of us, does it? …
Love in Him, (8-27-06)
Thank you, Jeff, for another round of good articles. In response to your article, “What Used To Be...,” we reply with a hearty “Amen!” and “Well-said!” We can also affirm your speculation in the post script. I think you are correct when you surmise that the readership of Truth Magazine fell off, not due to controversy, but rather because false doctrine is being printed in the pages. It also does not take a very learned individual to see that those who are responsible for what is printed care more now about friendships and familial relationships than they do about doctrine. When a man pretty much tells you straight out that he disagrees with another man’s position, but he is not going to argue the point too strongly because they share grandchildren (my paraphrase), then what can you say to that man that will make a difference? If the words of Jesus, when He talks about putting family ahead of our faith (Matthew 10:37) are not clear enough, then there is surely not much more that we can say. The masquerading “angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14) has blinded some of our (once) best and brightest. “So sad” is about the greatest of understatements.
Thanks for your continued study and work on this most relevant topic!
In Him, (8-25-06)
… Good info on your site … (8-25-06)
I’ve love to see all your articles in a book… That way, I could put it all on my shelf. There’s just something about a book on a shelf... electronic is fantastic, but something about a book. If you’d ever be willing to do that, I’ll…
Just a quick note to say that my book A Defense of the Truth: God’s Teaching Regarding the Mental Divorce Heresy is now available in print. A Defense of the Truth is a collection of my articles and writing on the Mental Divorce apostasy. The 118 page book is professionally bound and printed, and can be purchased directly from the publisher at http://www.lulu.com/davidwattsjr for $10 plus a few bucks for shipping. Choose the Media Mail option and shipping should be about $2.80.
But, I think an important subject needs a free avenue for distribution as well. If you’re unable to purchase a printed version, or would just rather have an electronic version, you may download the full book as a pdf file for free.
It is available at: http://www.bibleaccess.com/defense_of_the_truth.pdf
Take care, (8-24-06)
Dear brother Jeff,
Wow! What a fantastic job of articulating the positions from the scriptures and comparing the truth to error. The writing, as always, is scholarly and concise…
It is especially important that you brought out the fact that many are arguing that the designation as husband or wife denotes a continuing marriage, but God clearly shows from His word that even dead mates were so designated as either husband or wife, even though the living mate was no longer under the law of God to that mate; excellent point!
I appreciate your kind words about the exchange with Tom and it will be published! I am going to speak with … about that again soon.
I will be passing on what I have been working on concerning the conversation I had with brother … and will forward a copy to you for your editorial criticism.
May God bless you brother and uphold your hands in standing for truth! We are praying for you always! Sister … sends her greetings!
Your brother and friend, (8-24-06)
...I can’t believe
Connie said that. That was in the most recent issue - August?
Was it up front - in a prominent place (not that it matters that
…That article was based on a lesson I preached, by request, in a gospel meeting a few years ago. Since then, I have been asked to deal with this in various settings where the problem has reared its ugly head.
Just finished my part in a lectureship in … where … preaches. On Thursday, my assigned subject was MDR, and on Friday, ... dealt with “Mental Divorce.” Steven did an excellent job exposing the error and those who propound it today. Some present were from …, and did not agree with the lessons, but as least they have heard the truth in its simplicity.
Fight the good fight! And thanks again for your kindness. (8-23-06)
Dear brother Jeff,
As always it was wonderful and encouraging beyond words to hear from you and talk to you about the truth. God has indeed blessed us richly with the fellowship of faithful saints.
…That is the wonderful thing about having fellowship with faithful brethren; they love you enough to tell you the truth, whether positive or negative!
“…But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit;  keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life…” Jude 1:20-21 (ESV)
May God bless you and keep you brother! (8-19-06)
Dear brother Jeff,
I am sending you a Power Point slide that has the page that the quote came from. I presume you have Power Point and will be able to view it…
Your brother, (8-19-06)
Dear brother Jeff,
As always it was wonderful and encouraging beyond words to hear from you and talk to you about the truth. God has indeed blessed us richly with the fellowship of faithful saints.
I am enclosing a scanned copy of the front cover of the August issue of Truth Magazine and the one-page article that Connie wrote. The scanning did not get every character on some of the graphics but the article is complete.
… That is the wonderful thing about having fellowship with faithful brethren; they love you enough to tell you the truth, whether positive or negative!
“…But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit;  keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life…” Jude 1:20-21 (ESV)
May God bless you and keep you brother!
Your brother and friend, (8-19-06)
Thanks For the information. Have enjoyed reading. (8-14-06)
Wow—what a relief! I am SO GLAD that we agree on this, and I see no reason to believe that either of us are wrong on this one… (8-5-06)
Without dragging this out too much, I wish to state at this time that I very much insist that if a person marries another person, whether or not it is one that is scriptural, they are very much still married…
But it did occur to me yesterday that not only would it be totally scriptural for … and … to get a divorce, but in order to see Heaven one day they MUST do that! And I agree with you in principle when I state that they ARE indeed married, despite what Mike Willis might have to say about it. Isn’t it also true that the late … found himself in need of getting a divorce based upon the fact that he had married a woman that he had not the scriptural right to marry?
…I think that this e-mail is much more plain talking and much less confusing mumbo jumbo, like what you get from a lot of accurately described LIBERAL NON-INSTITUTIONALS out there.
Thanks in advance, brother Jeff, for considering… (8-5-06)
Hope all your family is well. Tell Cara and the boys I said hello. (8-4-06)
I think about you often and hope you are doing well. I know you are staying busy. It seems like you always have some new development. I’m glad to hear you are enjoying the work. Stay strong, (8-4-06)
…adultery is the only cause that God will accept for divorce…if it isn’t for adultery…no matter what the reasoning is of those who wish to justify it in their minds. (8-4-06)
…Thanks again, brother. The Willis forward looks just fascinating, so I think I’ll take a look at that before I finish my library session and get back to my job preparatory work. Life is grand!!!
…Thanks for the new forward, and for the good church info in general. I am with you in this fight, now and always. (8-4-06)
Who are the two other men that Willis referenced?
So many of the Willis quotes show an apparent ignorance of the difference between “married” and “bound”. Amazing! (8-3-06)
Well done. (8-3-06)
New e-Mail address: … (7-28-06)
Sorry for I am not response your good articles. Because we the Filipino brethren we don’t have teaching mental divorce here or re-married again. That’s not the pattern of the Bible and Christ did not also commands us to re-marry again.
Our Theme is like these: if the Bible will speak then you can speak also. But if the Bible is silent we should also be silent, that’s all...... (7-25-06)
Greetings in the name of our savior the Lord Jesus Christ. Allowed me, to introduce my self, My name is … sound preacher of the church of Christ at … . I’m glad for your information about me, in regards of this subject as a preacher I need to search more explanation concerning the Mental Divorce base the scriptural pattern…
Thanks your a grateful helps for the Lord’s Work by preaching the gospel into Christ.
May God Bless You............... (7-21-06)
Thanks for the update to the site! Very thought-provoking reading. Each time I come back there, I am shocked by the pace at which the “progression into digression” seems to be going. Is it just me, or are those who have been sucked into this whirlpool disappearing beneath the water at an alarming rate? Talk about shock and awe….I never would have thought it…..
Thanks for your work, (7-21-06)
Dear brother Jeff,
Thank you for the prompt attention to those items on the website and it was a thrill for me to get to talk to you in person! I pray that our conversing was as much an encouragement to you as it was to me.
I wanted to relay to you that I got to assemble with the saints at … (… area) and they seem rock solid! I talked with them about all these issues and many others, and these kind brethren were very solid. As well, they told me that almost none of the congregations around them were faithful anymore and error on the bible teaching about marriage was the chief culprit. It was so wonderful to see brethren in … standing arm-in-arm against Satan and his allies!
Remember, brother, not to lose heart!
“…Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him…” I Kings 19:18
May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus bless you and keep you, brother. I am praying for you and your family, as well as the brethren in Tennessee.
Keep up the good work!
Your brother, friend, and fellow servant, (7-21-06)
Thanks for plugging the book on your website. (7-19-06)
Dear brother Jeff,
Thank you, brother, for putting clips of the lesson by brother Holmes on the website and standing for truth. It is always very encouraging…
…and I praise you, brother for your fervency and love of the Lord…
Please keep me in your prayers as I keep you in mine and thank you for your love of truth. Hang in there, my brother!
Your friend, brother and fellow servant-in-Christ, (7-19-06)
Jeff, Keep up the great work you are doing!!
…Thanks so much for thinking of me, and for sending me your articles from time to time. (7-18-06)
I’ve thought about you and our time together a lot since you preached for us last May. Keep the faith, big brother.
P.S.---Thanks so much for keeping us updated. (7-18-06)
Thank you for your response concerning Mike Willis. I ordered the book today because I want to have concrete evidence to examine and to use to warn others (my father-in-law is very much interested in learning more, but he doesn’t own a computer!). Thanks for taking the time to explain the discussion to me.
I know you know … . I will be working with him in … come this September. Thought you would like to know.
Thanks for all of your hard work and great courage to combat this error. (7-18-06)
…Whatever I do, I’ll make it available for free on your website. Our purpose is to teach men, not make money. I think I’ll also make something available in book form, for those that like to have something in official book format.... (7-18-06)
What are your thoughts – from a strategic point of view? Is a response worth the effort? … (7-18-06)
Just finished reading the Willis/Bragwell exchange.
Really astounding to see Willis’ views in print. I know you’ve had the scoop for years... but still amazing to see him put them into a formal book.
I really think some of us need to respond strongly to the Willis/Barnett doctrine. I know you’ve done some things already, you have any additional plans? (7-18-06)
Do you know what the following “discussion” / debate is all about, what is said and if Mike openly presents his false beliefs? Thank you. (7-18-06)
Yes, my friend, Mike reveals ALL! It is unbelievable!
Mike advocates multi-causes for divorce; denies that wrongful divorces and marriages are real (i.e. they are only divorces and marriages accommodatively speaking); one can marry and/or divorce without civil compliance to civil law; one can “put away” after a civil divorce; etc. (7-18-06)
Good stuff! Keep up the good work. (7-14-06)
Excellent stuff – glad to see the Bobby Holmes stuff go up... he may flip his wig – but he clearly stated he wanted brethren to know where he stood.... so, duly noted and documented for all to see.
Am thinking about a book response to Willis. Will have to act quick if it is to have maximum effect. (7-14-06)
How you doing bro?
You got the Bragwell/Willis exchange? Willis mentions you in it. (7-14-06)
I learned a long time ago that if one “earnestly contends for the faith,” one encounters all sorts of criticism. Not only from the proponents of error, but also from those who do not believe in debating (cp. Jude 3). Sound preaching itself is for the most part, a thankless job… (7-13-06)
My Reply To An MDR Question (jhb):
Thank you for your thorough and thoughtful letter, and I commend your desire to study Biblical matters, to see whether the things you have read “are so,” as did the noble Bereans so long ago. To answer your question...
Matt. 5:31-32, “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”
Matt. 19:3-12 “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. 10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. 11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”
Mark 10:2-12 “And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. 3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. 5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”
Luke 16:18 “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.”
Rom. 7:1-3 “Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.”
I Cor. 7:1-16 “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. 7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. 10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. 12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. 16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?”
Since these are the only NT verses that address divorce and remarriage, if we are to find authority for divorce and/or remarriage, we must find it within these scriptures, don’t you agree? (I am assuming that you also believe that we must have authority for all we teach and practice (Col. 3:17). If I am incorrect in this assumption, please let me know.)
First, we must determine to whom Jesus gives authority to put away and marry another. God’s rule regarding marriage in Romans 7 teaches that after God binds a man and woman upon marriage, their obligation to one another lasts until one of them dies, and that anyone who marries another while their lawful mate still lives becomes an adulterer/adulteress. However, Matthew 19 gives God’s singular exception to this rule: the one who has divorced his / her lawful mate for the cause of fornication does not become guilty of adultery when they marry another.
Your assessment that “just because Christians do things in a different order than normally occurs in the US, does not mean that they are not doing things in a scriptural way” is one which I whole-heartedly agree with. However, if Christians do things in a different order than what our Lord taught, then they are not doing things in a scriptural way, don’t you agree?
It has been said that in some cultures in earlier days, individuals became married by jumping over a broomstick. If this was the accepted and recognized practice for marriage, then all was done legally in the sight of God as well as men. Likewise, if jumping over the broomstick backwards was the culturally accepted/recognized practice for divorce, then regardless of whether the divorce was authorized by God, that practice would still result in divorce. In the above scriptures, it is clear that God acknowledges that unscriptural (wrongful) divorces take place (upon whatever culturally-accepted practice is recognized at that time and place) as per I Cor. 7:10-11, even while He does not release the participants in it from their obligation to one another. And the verses also state that when the unscripturally divorced person marries another, he / she becomes guilty of adultery.
As you can see, even in the broomstick analogy, an authorized divorce still follows God’s order: scriptural marriage + fornication + divorce (via jumping over a broomstick backwards) for that cause = no adultery upon marriage to another. [Likewise, an unscriptural divorce which makes one “put away, divorced, unmarried” (Matt. 5:32; 19:9; I Cor. 7) follows a pattern: scriptural marriage + no fornication + divorce = adultery upon marriage to another.]
Some however, are saying that one can be involved in a scriptural marriage, then unwillingly become what God calls “divorced” (not for fornication), then it is reasoned that when their (ex)mate commits fornication, they may employ a post-divorce “putting away” of sorts (which is recognized by neither culture, law or custom), and be free to marry again. This pattern [of scriptural marriage + wrongful divorce (i.e. not for fornication) + fornication + post-divorce “putting away” = no adultery upon marriage to another] could not be found in the Bible if one’s life depended upon it, yet their immortal soul does! This is no more God’s order than it is to baptize before belief, repentance and confession (as the Catholics do).
So, the fact that “Adam’s” wife became an adulteress after divorce does not change the fact that “Adam” did not put his wife away for fornication (which is the only action which allows remarriage to another as long as one’s original, divinely obligated mate is still alive). And I can find no scripture which authorizes marriage to another for a person who is the one who is put away, nor for the one who has divorced his / her mate for a reason other than fornication (as long as one’s original, divinely obligated mate is still alive – See Rom. 7:2-3; I Cor. 7:39). Can you?
I agree with many of your words regarding mere traditions, cultural differences and opinions which are inappropriately bound on others. However, we must remember that the context of Romans 14 is addressing only things which are pure and clean in God’s eyes (Rom. 14:14, 20). Surely you would agree that the sin of adultery is not something which God considers to be a pure practice (such as the eating of meats), or an issue of mere conscience? Gal. 5:19 calls adultery a work of the flesh, and Mt. 19:18, Luke 18:20 and Rom. 13:9 place this sin on par with murder, among other sins. Moreover, the Corinthian church was condemned for accepting this sin amongst its members in I Cor. 5. [If Rom. 14 authorizes on-going unity and fellowship among brethren even when clearly sinful practices are involved, then scriptures such as I Cor. 5:11; II Thess. 3:6-15; I Tim. 6:3-6; Tit. 3:10 and II Jn. 9 are meaningless.]
It is not binding a mere cultural difference to say that when one is divorced, he is bound by God’s words regarding those who are put away (Matt. 5:32b; Matt. 19:9b; Luke 16:18b) whenever the recognized and accepted practice of the land for divorce has been accomplished. Remember, our marriage commitment is “until death do us part; for better or worse,” with only one exception=we must “put away” (sunder the one flesh relationship for fornication)! Neither is it conscience that dictates that no person who is put away (from a lawful marriage relationship) is given the right to employ a culturally unrecognized (unbiblical) post-divorce “putting away” in order to rightfully marry another! After a wrongful divorce, remarriage to another is only permitted when one’s original mate has died (Rom. 7:2-3; I Cor. 7:39). Hence, it is not a matter of conscience, but rather a Biblical prohibition.
…, I hope that my answer(s) have been helpful to you and invite you to challenge my questions if you feel it is necessary (with scripture), as I have answered yours.
In brotherly love, Jeff (7-11-06)
Thank you for sending this information about the website you maintain. I was not aware of the website prior to your e-mail.
I have read over various parts of the website. I confess that I have in my conscience, a position about re-marriage. To ensure that I am thinking properly, I would like to ask you a serious of question to “test” my conscience. Are you willing to assist me in “testing” my conscience?
On another note.....I vaguely remember your name. Where did we meet? Or should I say, Who introduced us? That’s the problem with living outside of the US all the time, I meet up with various other followers of the Christ [members of what I call “the true church of Christ”] that hold the same citizenship as I do (USA), but after a while.....all my compatriots begin to run together. Okay, I’ve been in … [worshipped in …, ….] Worshipped a few times with congregations in the … and most recently I lived and worshipped with the Saints in …. A wonderful group of Christians!
Thank you, With Christian Love.... (7-1-06)
Just thought I would jot down some thoughts that you might consider when discussing this topic....
1. These fellows will often tell you they don’t not believe in this “second putting away” stuff. Brother …
2. Though he says he does not believe the second putting away, he says that if the fornicating husband unlawfully “puts away” the innocent wife, she may later lawfully put him away and remarry, for he did not put her away for the proper “Cause.” That is his position!
1. His position IS A SECOND PUTTING AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2. For one to teach that the “innocent or non-fornicating, unlawfully put away woman” of Matthew 19:9 may remarry, he must take one of, or both of, or some new, false premise on this verse; ALL of which add up to the mental divorce, second putting away error. I will write these premises as if I were defending them, not as I believe the text to teach (…).
Premise #1 – What some are calling a second putting away is not a second putting away at all. There was never really a putting away of the innocent woman found in this verse. The unlawful putting away of an individual is not a putting away at all, for it is not for the right “Cause.” Therefore, when the unlawfully put away innocent woman of Matthew 19 is unscripturally, for lack of a better term, “put away” by the fornicating mate, it is not a putting away at all, for it is not for the right “Cause.” Jesus only dealt with one cause for putting away. That is what he was focusing on, not the civil procedure. That is why I don’t believe it is a second putting away when she puts him away; but since it is the only lawful putting away that has taken place, it is the First, and ONLY putting away that has taken place. The innocent woman may remarry according to the exception clause of Matthew 19:9 when she goes through with the only God ordained putting away of Matthew 19:9, and puts him away for “The Cause of” fornication.
Premise #2 – Jesus is teaching that the only one who has the God given right to put away, is the INNOCENT PARTY. The innocent party always has the right to remarry when she puts away her husband for the “Cause” of fornication. Any putting away other than that of the innocent putting away the guilty is not a God ordained cause for divorce, and means nothing, except in the courts of man, for the division of property, etc. For one to believe the innocent put away person, cannot remarry, is to believe that the laws of Man are stronger than the Law of God.
This is why the innocent woman should not be called the put away woman at all, but is truly the only one in God’s eyes who may do the putting away. Any other divorce is seen as a putting away of man’s doing, and is paid no attention to at all by God. The divorce paper is like a Kleenex. You may as well blow your nose on it and flush it down the toilet, for it means nothing to God. Understand, I am not saying that we can overlook the courts of man in this, and that we can sidestep the judicial system (Rom.13) in getting a divorce through our courts of law if possible. We must obey the laws of man where they do not overstep the law of God. I am simply saying it must be for the right cause. It is the cause that is binding.
Therefore, I do not believe that when an innocent woman puts away her fornicating husband, it is a second putting away at all. It is the first and only putting away that has taken place. She may now lawfully remarry, as she was the only one according to this verse, who had the right or cause to do the putting away, whether one day after the unlawful, man-made putting away took place, or two years later – whether he was innocent before the man-made divorce took place, and he later fornicated and was put away for such – or if he was a fornicator when he unscripturally put her away, and she later divorced him for that cause. He is now the put away fornicator, and according to this verse, may never remarry! She may do so, just like the verse implies.
In Conclusion: I am tired of being misquoted and lied about. The following is what I believe and teach. If anyone asks where I stand, you are free to tell them the following.
1. I do not believe in the race to the courthouse doctrine. That is binding where God has not bound. It does not matter who gets to the courthouse first, and I don’t think you believe it does either. Don’t those of your party say that if a fornicating husband files for divorce to put away his innocent wife, she may rebut that filing, and subsequently put him away for fornication? That is exactly what I am saying! We are 100% in agreement on that.
2. I do not believe in the “Mental Divorce” doctrine. There is no such thing as a mental divorce. It is either a putting away or it is not. If one has been lawfully put away for the right cause, there is nothing “mental only” about it. It is the actual, and only acceptable putting away. Therefore, it is the scriptural putting away of Matthew 19:9, no matter what might be on that piece of paper that her unrighteous husband, or even the judge handed her, or if she is able to attain a piece of paper at all stating her cause for putting him away!
When the innocent party puts away her fornicating mate as per what Jesus Himself allowed in this verse, he is the put away party and may never remarry. She may now lawfully do so. We are 100% in agreement on that are we not?
3. We are saying exactly the same thing. There are some radicals out there, who, if you do not say things exactly as they want them said, and use the very words or terms they have chosen as sound, then you cannot be considered a part of their “party,” and they will mark you as a false teacher – calling you a “Mental Divorcer.”
***I have told you that I neither believe in Mental Divorce, nor in the Race to the Courthouse, nor that the Unlawfully Put Away may remarry. If anyone tells you I do, they are simply lying to you. They need to speak to me personally before they go around saying things about me that just are not so.
This has all taken place over one man’s, and his parties’ quest for brotherhood status. He has nothing better to do than to drag good men through the mud, mar their good names, and get their meetings cancelled. He says he will debate, but never does; and if he ever does, it will have to be with a one sided proposition.
You need to understand that all of this division is over something I do not believe to be so, as I wrote a couple of paragraphs above. There may be a difference of application, or semantics, but we believe and teach the same basic premise, that “The put away person of Matthew 19:9 may not lawfully remarry!”
I hope this has helped, and that we can continue to worship together in the unity of the Spirit, and the bond of peace. We should not divide over this issue, but continue to work and worship with one another as we have. We on both sides (if there be such a thing) of this issue have been teaching these same things for all these many years, with no animosity, nor contention. Please do not let one man’s personal vendetta destroy the work for which Jesus died.
Thank you for your time,
Brother Humble …….. (7-1-06)
Dear brother Jeff,
…The twilight zone analogy is a good one. I guess I became desensitized to what these false teachers were capable of after I heard Bobby and tried to reason with him. I reread the correspondence with Tom and I was still shocked at times that he could actually write some of the things that he wrote; it is truly frightening. Such is the case with those who will not consent to wholesome words and the doctrine that accords with godliness (I Tim. 6:3-5)!
Error must be exposed, as you have correctly pointed out from scripture (Eph. 5:11; Rom. 16:17)…
My fear, brother, as these imposters go from bad to worse (II Tim. 3:13) is that the brethren will become more and more desensitized and less willing to refuse fellowship with those who are advocating error on any front. I have witnessed a steady pattern of those who are willing to receive brethren who teaching error on various points, regardless of God’s prohibitions (II Jn. 9-11)
Thank you for holding fast the Word of Life (Phil 2: 14) and may God uphold your hands and give you good courage…As well, thank you for including me on your list of updates to the mental divorce web site. …sent you a request also to be included on your updates to the web site. … is very appreciative of your stance for truth.
I will be in touch soon, Lord willing,…My prayers are with you and your family. (7-1-06)
Jeff, do you have Don Martin’s e-mail address?
I was told that some one researched the story about the Nevada divorce that Harry Osborne told was not true.
Do you know if any one checked on it?
I hope you are doing well, as we are.
If in …, come on by, as the latch string is on the outside.
My Reply To The Above (jhb):
It was good to hear from you. Don Martin’s e-address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yes, the Nevada Strawman is something I exposed on the website quite some time ago. Harry isn’t the only one who has been telling this whopper. Weldon Warnock, Ron Halbrook and Tim Haile have all told the same account as fact. Yet Nevada law proves that their emotional scenario was not even possible. In the link below, I have all of these men’s quotes (Harry’s is the last) and my reply with the website that proves it couldn’t have happened follows it (in green writing). BTW, the DivorceSource.com address no longer exists (it has been a long time since I posted it), but I found another link that tells about residency requirements. That link is below the MD website link.
“Q.: What are the residence requirement necessary before filing a divorce suit?
A.: Six weeks residency in the state and a Resident Witness that you have know for at least four (4) months that can attest to your presence in the state for all of the six-week period. The petitioner’s affidavit states that you intend to make Nevada your home for the foreseeable future.”
“Q: Do I need to appear in court?
A: No. There is no court appearance required when both parties agree. The signed divorce documents can be mailed directly to the court.”
Happy Reading, Jeff (6-29-06)
…By the way, I was doing some research last night to make sure I have my facts straight on the history of the “division” (I realize this is a misnomer, but I can't think of a better term right now), and I found this page on Wikipedia:
You probably know about Wikipedia, but if not—it’s an online encyclopedia that is written by the users. In fact, you could go in and edit the article on us anti’s. But I’ve found it to be one of the most accurate and comprehensive resources on the Internet. The article on non-institutional churches is no exception. It must have been written by a brother somewhere, but it’s very balanced and factual. It even covers Homer Hailey and the MDR disagreements.
Anyway, I thought you’d find it interesting.
Thanks for the material. (6-27-06)
Yes those help and I had found the first one after mailing you.
Where is your local work, where do you preach now?
I am a member at the downtown church in … My phone area code is …, because I have a farm just into the state of … Near the … state line.
Somehow you have had me on your mailing. That is fine; although I’m not sure how I got there.
You have a website full of info; but please just tell me Ron’s position in laymen’s terms.
I have no axes to grind here. I just want to know what he is teaching.
I became aware of the false teaching on divorce last year and then was directed to your web site in June 2005.
It is hard to believe that Christian’s would be willing to give up their salvation to follow the emotional and unscriptural reasons that are being taught about divorce and even sometimes remarriage.
I have been troubled and disappointed to continue to find those I once believed stood firm for the truth are actually advocating false doctrine on divorce or they are supporting those who teach the false doctrine.
Please include me in your list to receive your updates from Mental Divorce.
Thanks for the update, brother. And thanks again for being with us last month. There does seem like some real hope of getting you back again for another gospel meeting a few years down the road. …
Keep fighting that good fight, my friend. More later, the good Lord willing. You were such a breath of fresh air to our congregation.— (6-24-06)
Thanks for the update. (6-23-06)
Dear brother Jeff,
I have kept you in my prayers that the Lord may bless you and keep you…
I have not heard from brother Tom Roberts on my debate proposal so I am confident that he has no intention of responding to me…
…Again, I am very thankful for your stand for the truth and endure hardness as a good soldier of the Lord Jesus. May God bless you and preserve you to His heavenly kingdom. I look forward to seeing you face-to-face.
Your brother and servant in the faith, (6-21-06)
Hope all is well. Ran across this and thought some [all] of these points could certainly apply to the Mental Divorce issue. Let me know what you think… (6-12-06)
By Stan Adams
We would use the term, we “watch out.” The term speaks to the fact of impending peril, and issues warning, in order to avoid loss. It is used in Colossians 2:8 – “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world and not after Christ.” Again, we are warned by Christ in Matthew 7:15 – “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.”
In these two passages we are told to be careful and beware about what we are taught. We are warned that we can be led astray by those who appear to have our best interest at heart. Often, those we admire, can lead us into heresy and we may not even know it, because we are prejudiced by their good traits.
I have been a member of the church for 25 years and in a preacher’s household for 37. I have watched and observed my father fret over having to deal with false teachers, I have watched him be demeaned, and be accused of lack of love because he stood his ground on Truth and would not back up. The observations of Christ and of Paul are very accurate and are still true. We should be ever aware of the possibility that we, or someone we love, may teach false doctrine and draw others away from their hope. In the time I have been a Christian. I have observed the tactics of false teachers, and have listened to sound brethren more seasoned than I am in their description of false teaching and is pattern.
Let us notice some attributes of false teaching.
1. Often portrays itself as uncertain. Error claims to be a learning process, but it never comes to a stead fast conclusion (2 Tim. 3:7). Error teaches by questioning, never takes a position that can be attributed definitely. It allows others to always wonder what the belief is.
2. False teaching is often done by those who view themselves as the free‑thinkers of the day (Acts 17:21). In this passage we see the Athenians were forever interested in “some new thing.” One who teaches false doctrine often sees himself as an innovator, one who rejects all the “traditional ideas,” and is willing to mold for himself some new doctrine. Many of the young men I went to school with followed this pattern and are now in apostasy.
3. False teaching is deceitful. It does not advertise itself as dangerous and often on the surface seems innocent. When it is discovered for what it is and is challenged, it often goes underground until conditions are safe to surface again. Those who followed Holt, Ketcherside, and Fudge were told not to reveal what they believed all at once, but to keep people wondering and unsure. Matthew 7:15 tells us that it appears as innocent as a lamb.
4. False teaching turns people against one another. It divides, shatters and splinters until a full path of destruction is laid. Then, sadly, there are some sad soldiers on the edges of the battlefield, who stand and wring their hands, and wonder what happened, and remember when someone admonished them to stand or be consumed, but it is too late!
5. False teaching would like for every issue to be a “matter of judgment.” It would have you believe that vital issues that are matters of doctrine are minor points, and that “we all come out at the same place anyhow, so what is the big deal?” Does that sound to you like your Baptist friend, when spoken to about baptism? He will say, “We both believe in baptism, what difference does it make, whether or not it is for remission of sins?” The live‑and‑let‑live philosophy is gendered by false teaching. Sympathizers with false teaching often are “milktoast.” Christians who will not agree with the error, but will not take an active stand against it. This makes them a partaker of the evil deeds accomplished by false doctrine (2 John 9‑11).
6. False teaching often portrays itself as being misunderstood. “You didn’t hear me right,” or “I didn’t mean it.” We all know that as humans we will slip and misspeak, occasionally, but when we develop a pattern of telling folks we have been misunderstood, we are either involved in false teaching, or do not know what we are talking about, and ought to keep quiet and not advertise our doubts as doctrine. Much harm is done in the church because Christians get together to “study” and all that occurs is a mass pooling of ignorance, with everyone leaving more confused than when he came, but “feeling good,” because we have “studied without the shackles of tradition.”
All Christians should beware of false doctrine and be unafraid to oppose it. In order to do this we must be studious (2 Tim. 2:15). We must be aware of the tactics of error, and be unafraid as David was when he met Goliath. When error is espoused, it is a slap in the face of our Savior, who died to bring us salvation and hope, not confusion and uncertainty. That should make us upset! I have never been accused of liking a fight. I have always done what I could to avoid one, but that does not mean indignation cannot come to the front when Truth is challenged. Beware! And put your armor on! (Eph. 6:10‑18).
How are you brother? Hope you all are well.
I’ve collected all my various articles to Cavender, Chaffin and Truth Magazine on the mental divorce issue and compiled them together. See attachment…
I’ve thought of “publishing” the resulting book (the above .pdf) with them...
In either case, perhaps you should consider publishing all your writing in one volume on this subject. It’s easy to do - just format according to their rules, upload the word file - pick out a cover, etc. (6-8-06)
…As usual we’ll just have to keep on pressing as time allows…
Keep on keeping on!! (5-26-06)
Dear brother Jeff,
…I am still working on finishing an article and will get to you as soon as possible.
I pray your preaching efforts went well and that the Lord will uphold your hands as you stand for truth. Our prayers are with you.
Talk to you soon, brother! (5-19-06)
Dear brother Jeff,
…God speed to you, dear brother and friend and will pray for your health, safety, and strength in the work in…
The article you sent me was excellent, as all your exegesis is. I had actually read it several times online and been greatly edified. Thank you again for sending it. I pray you realize how encouraging your stance for truth has been to me and …. I have read many of the articles several times and been refreshed and encouraged…
We love you, brother and be strong in the Lord (Eph. 6:10-17)! (5-11-06)
Dear brother Jeff,
I just wanted to let you know that we are praying for your strength and courage in the gospel, and pray that God will uphold your hands. I ask for your prayers for us; there has been quite a bit of frustration over part of the fellowship issue at ….
I am going to work diligently this weekend to finish the article concerning the mental divorce doctrine...
Hang in there, my brother! The Lord will reward you! (5-8-06)
Sounds like we have a date set.
…Lessons on marriage relationships would be excellent. In fact, you can devote as much time on that as possible. I would also like to discuss the mental divorce doctrine with you. There is a brother in Christ at a congregation in … that knows of that belief.
So far, the response from the article I sent out this morning has been positive. It has made two lists so far.
… This guys are something else, as you well know. (4-30-06)
Thank you to all the articles, I think I learned something to share with others. Please pray for… (4-30-06)
…But anyway, you should get that envelope in the mail soon, the Lord willing. And thanks for your kind words about “Levels”… (4-30-06)
How are you and yours doing? The preacher they got at Beckley is it Bob Pulliam? I sure hope they got a good man. I heard this is the one they got, just though I would check with you on this. Thanks (4-29-06)
Dear brother Jeff,
I have blessed, yet sad news. On … marked and exposed brother Bobby for his erroneous teaching on divorce. This is blessed in that brother … and the elders stood for truth (on this issue, and prayerfully will on all the others) but is sad in that a once strong gospel preacher has stood for error. I will get you a copy of the lesson as soon as soon as it is available. … did an excellent job, I thought…and I pray that you will be heartened by his courage. It was extremely difficult for him, but he was courageous and the elders were strong in standing… Praise God! They know that brother Tom Roberts will have to be dealt with next...
When I saw the apostasy that Bobby was spiraling into, those were some of the darkest days of my life. After reading your exchange with brother Bobby and the other refreshing appeals to truth that you and others had written, both … and I were heartened and encouraged. Don’t lose heart, brother, but be of good courage.
“…let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, for He who promised is faithful …” (Heb. 10:22)
… My personal opinion is that …, as you well mentioned, is seeing just how high the “mushroom cloud” of error is going, and has had the most difficult time separating from these men emotionally, realizing the error they are teaching. Continue to pray for him…
I am very appreciative of your humility and love of truth, and your progress in the faith is evident to all. May the Lord bless you and keep you from every evil work. My prayers are with you, as you do the Lord’s will. (4-27-06)
Good Morning Jeff,
…There will be some interest in the mental divorce study…Yes, it will be an interesting lesson!!!
Thanks in Christ, (4-27-06)
Came across this poem - maybe its well known, but I hadn’t seen it before. Thought it was good for those who preach. It ends a bit abruptly - but actually I think it makes the point rather well.
When I preach...
When I preach there are some who say
Some say my sermon is much too deep.
Some declare me an orator;
Some folks feel I’ve met success;
Others say it’s above the peak,
From all this it’s plain to see
I can’t please men of such discord
By “speaking the truth in love.”
Just a quick note to let you know that in the next 10 days or so we will be changing our e-mail address to: … (4-24-06)
Dear brother Jeff,
…I commend your courage and humility.
… brother Mike Willis, and others on the multiple causes for divorce. As well, he seems to understand (by things said in that meeting with … and me) that the mental divorce position is false. … We can never give heed to false teaching…
Your reasoning from the scripture was right on-target, you answered him in the correct spirit, and I was greatly encouraged that there were others standing for the truth…
I know how discouraging it can be to see so many once faithful gospel preachers falling by the wayside, but as the Sprit says,
“…But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction…” 2 Peter 2:1 (ESV)
…May the Lord give you good courage and strength, as you do His blessed will…
Your brother, (4-23-06)
What is Putting Away?
By John M. Duvall (4-22-06)
I guess you read the latest issue of Truth Magazine. It inspired the below (thought you might be interested)… (4-17-06)
Dear Brother Jeff,
…We are following Christ not followers of men. So we live like Christ. Do not imitate the work of others to live many wives. Because Christ says they do because they are hard headed… (4-16-06)
Dear Brother Jeff,
Thank you for the quick response and I will read everything ASAP.
I am praying for you and your work in the Lord. I remarked to a brother tonight who is standing for truth on the multiple-causes-for-divorce argument and said that the fallout of the error on both this and the mental divorce doctrine will make the split of the 1950s-1960s pale in comparison because of how emotionally charged this doctrine is and the apparent willingness of gospel preachers to capitulate the truth in favor of their friendships, personal associations, and family members who have or are committing sin.
Ironically, brother Willis and others are arguing that you, I, brother …, and others who are opposing their error are preventing the abused or mistreated wife from doing what Jesus told her to do in Lk. 18:29, leave her mate for the kingdom of heaven! However, the facts show that Jesus does not authorize one to divorce their mate for this cause in this passage or any other, and the brethren teaching error are actually the ones who are refusing to love the Lord more than father, mother, personal associates, preaching friends, etc. (Matt. 10:37-38)!
I absolutely concur, brother, with your disappointment concerning those who should have stood for truth. I preached a lesson at … entitled, “The Sin of Divorce” in which I dealt with the error of the divorce-for-any-cause-and-then-remain-unmarried doctrine. I pointed out that God calls all divorce short of the cause of fornication sin and the one who commits it must repent it of via reconciliation, where possible…
Before the studies, … emailed about a dozen gospel preachers from Ron Halbrook to brother Joe Price and we were absolutely shocked! She simply asked the question, “How does the bible define a lawful divorce and when does it occur”. Brother Price responded that there is no civil involvement in the divorce process and several other preachers gave vague or what I would refer to as non-responses, attempting to hide where they stood on the issue…
I know exactly where you are coming from, brother, and hang in there! … (4-16-06)
I want to apologize first because I had intended to write to you months ago, but did not. I have recently (June, 2005) come face-to-face with the current error on divorce. …
One of the reasons I am writing you is to praise you for standing for truth. I have read much of the material on the Mental Divorce website and have been edified, and yet alarmed, by how fast and far this error is growing; I had not experienced it personally until now…. . I stand with you as one of the Lord’s soldiers…
Your brother, (4-15-06)
Please update your address book as our email address has changed. The new one is very similar to our old one, so be sure you check your address book carefully to insure you have us as … (4-15-06)
It is good to hear from you, about the updated portions of your website!
I trust you and your family are doing well! I just wanted to tell you that I always enjoy your call-ins to the radio program at Collegevue (thevirtualbiblestudy.com). Your questions and answers are always right on the money, insightful, and thought provoking…
God Bless You & Keep You, (4-13-06)
Where I attend now, they are having a meeting next year with Brother ... He has close ties to Ron Halbrook. I was wondering if you had any article he wrote for or against MDR?
The elders where I attend have canceled the upcoming meeting with Bill Cavender. I believe more investigation by elders of local churches of gospel meeting speakers needs to happen.
Also, do you have an article discussing Truth Mag. stand against Homer Hailey, and the current MDR issue? (4-13-06)
I hope you are doing O.K. and that your work in the Lord is prospering.
I appreciate the work you put into handling the… Could you do me a favor and change the address you send the “preacher stuff” to… (4-12-06)
Thanks for the updates Jeff.
Suppose you have kept up on reading/TV of the Tennessee killing of the C of C preacher by his wife… Very sad and the church has received a lot of bad publicity from Baptist preachers and others interviewed ref. what the church teaches, etc…
Have a good week in His service. (4-12-06)
Wow! I just called you a while ago! We are having a gospel meeting, and I should have let you know about it before now! Thanks for the update! I will look forward to sitting down and reading the articles! (4-11-06)
Please change my email address from … to … (4-11-06)
I understand your points fully, I do. And, I agree that fornication must take place prior to the divorce.
I want to ask you a question, for your thought, consideration, and hopeful reply...
I stand with you on “mental divorce” based upon fornication “after divorce”.
My question is, … (4-11-06)
Thanks Jeff I was able to bring up the updates… (4-11-06)
How are you Jeff? I hope all is still going well in TN.
…So far so good with …. He is coming up on Mathew 19 in Sunday morning bible study class though. (4-11-06)
Thanks for your reply to the Morris List. You did a very good job… I have debated Bunch in the past... (4-5-06)
Jeff, Any news about the JT & HO debate? (4-5-06)
Good work, keep up the heat.
Mike was corresponding for a while and I thought we might work out terms for a written debate. However, he pulled back. (3-28-06)
“…After the first of April, things should drastically slow down [for awhile] and I should be able to get the articles to you…” (3-16-06)
I assume you have a website that my grandfather would like to link to from his website? If so please go ahead and email it to me and I’ll get it up this week. Thank you.” (3-13-06)
“…my grandson, who lives in …, he looks after my web…here enclosed. If you could send him your web site add, he will then add it as a link on my web. Maybe by now you have sent it, so just throw this note into file 13. Thanks for your articles. Appreciate, (3-13-06)
“…Mt. 19:9 says ‘And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.’ After the introductory phrase, ‘And I say to you, ‘the subject of the first clause is ‘whoever’ and the main verb is ‘commits adultery.’ But it is not just any ‘whoever,’ it is a particular whoever. It is a ‘whoever’ who ‘divorces’ [apolyse, third person, singular, aorist, ACTIVE [my emphasis] , subjunctive] his wife…and ‘marries’ [gamese, third person, singular, aorist, ACTIVE [my emphasis] subjunctive] another. The exception clause ‘except for sexual immorality’ applies to the subject of this sentence – the particular ‘whoever’ under consideration, not someone else.
[Please note that gospel preachers have made a similar argument on Mk. 16:16. ‘He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.’ The subject of the first clause is ‘He’ and the main verb is ‘will be saved.’ But it is not just any ‘he,’ it is a particular he. It is ‘he’ who ‘believes’ and ‘is baptized.’]
Mt. 19:9 only says what it says, and it doesn’t say what it doesn’t say! For example, it doesn’t say something like this: ‘If fornication has occurred, the innocent party may remarry following a divorce.’ It says ‘whoever divorces [ACTIVE VOICE] his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries [ACTIVE VOICE] another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.’
In the scenario that you have described, I see at least three problems with the view that says that the spouse who did not commit adultery would have the right to remarry:
1. She is not the ‘whoever’ who divorces, so the exception clause could not apply to her.
2. The divorce is not ‘for fornication.’ The guilty fornicator certainly does not divorce the ‘innocent party’ ‘for fornication.’ He may divorce her because he wants to marry his mistress or because he doesn’t love her anymore or some other reason; but he doesn’t divorce her ‘for fornication.’ Therefore this divorce is not for the scriptural reason that would allow remarriage without committing adultery. [Note: I’m talking here about the reason for the divorce, not what is written on the divorce decree]
3. She would be the ‘her who is divorced’ in the second clause of Mt. 19:9, and Jesus says ‘whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.’ If the ‘whoever’ in the second clause commits adultery, then she does too, since it takes two. I don’t know how one participant in the act could commit adultery, while the other participant would not.
In responding to your question, I have tried to reason with the text of Mt. 19:9. I’m sure you would agree that this is where we all must start. Since you did not ask me how ‘civil divorce proceedings’ might fit in to all of this, I have not dealt with that. I may not know in every scenario, but however they fit in, they must not be allowed to change what the text says. (3-8-06)
“I don’t think we have received any new updates form you lately. Keep up the good work, and remember you have folks in…who love and pray for you and your family. (3-8-06)
“Apostasy means, ‘falling away.’ Apostasy is caused by those who ‘want to pervert the gospel of Christ’ (Gal. 1:7). The church in the first century was warned, ‘there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies’ (II Peter 2:1). There is an apostasy that is now occurring in many congregations of the churches of Christ…We must never give a person encouragement in their false doctrine, if we do, we also become guilty and will lose our own soul…We read in II Thessalonians 2:10-12, ‘...because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.’…We must speak out and warn others of our present apostasy so less damage will be done and fewer souls will be lost.” (3-8-06)
I had thought that…held the same position that we do, concerning the situation where it is the adulterer who obtains the divorce and not the innocent spouse. However, today he said that he believes that the innocent spouse may remarry if they were divorced by an adulterer…Do you have an article from…describing that particular scenario? (3-7-06)
Please send me your weekly (monthly article direct, thanks). Send it to … thanks (3-4-06)
Jeff, I have been off line for a while. I have a different e-mail address. Please add me back to your mailing list. (2-20-06)
“…got a call from…the guy I was telling you about. Tom Roberts is defending this multiple causes for divorce position hot and heavy...bad stuff. I’m in today until about 4 PM central probably.
Where are you in TN again?
I’m on my way to … next week … Perhaps if I’m passing by I could time it for lunch or something? (2-16-06)
I was wondering if you know of a good adult class book on authority that would pertain to today’s problems in the church?
Thanks for your help, (2-14-06)
What’s new and interesting? How’s the work in TN?
Bobby Holmes apparently didn’t have a change of heart – when he claimed to with me – he recently taught pro-mental divorce and pro-multiple-causes in a recent sermon. A friend has a transcript of it.....I’m trying to get him to contact you. His name is... I suggested that the transcript would be useful to brethren. Bobby even says he’s preaching this sermon on MDR so that everybody can know where he stands!... (2-13-06)
Jeff, how are you and your wife doing? I hope all is well.
Jeff, the reason for this e-mail is … is going to be holding a meeting in this area this spring, Do you know his position, on this subject. A red flag is coming up in my mind but I can’t put my finger on it, maybe you can help me… Thanks so much, (2-20-06)
The following quotes are taken from the writing of Tom Roberts, “Should We Make a ‘Certain’ or ‘Uncertain’ Sound?” The Forest Hills Communicator, February 2006, Vol. IV, No. 1
“The simplicity of Jesus’ message is a hallmark for all time. Neither he or the apostles used philosophical discourses, heavy with intellectual “hidden” meaning or subtle nuances. The Bible is understandable. “By which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Eph. 3:4). Also, “Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (5:17). Paul said plainly, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom, declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified…and my speech and my preaching were not in persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:1-5).
If brother Roberts really believes that “The Bible is understandable,” I would like to hear his explanation as to how understandable he believes Jesus’ words that “he who marrieth her who is divorced doth commit adultery” are. These words are spoken in the context of one who has divorced his wife and then married another, thereby committing adultery. Does he believe that we should understand Jesus to have said exactly what he meant and meant exactly what he said about those who are put away? OR Should we defer to his closest colleagues’ “persuasive words of human wisdom” that make these divine words, “of none effect”?
“While Florida College has a legitimate right to exist, it does not have a legitimate right to allow error to be propagated and to defend those who propagate it, while criticizing those who expose the error.”
“Attempts to have public study with brother Pickup on these matters, as well as Romans 14, have brought a stony silence. Thus, we have an uncertain sound from Florida College and some who have represented the college in their teaching activities.” (2-4-06)
Thanks for this info. I have a web site would it be okay if I add this to my links page?
And keep them coming. I will go to Rom. 14 just now, we have just studied the chapter and the fellow who taught was touching on unity in diversity, we eventually got it right...I hope and pray. (1-28-06)
Dear Brother Jeff,
Greetings to you in the most precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you very much that you sent me your website. Maybe there are many things and doctrine that we can learned. It is good work in the sight of our God. Please send me your articles… (1-27-06)
Jeff … I am amazed he has kept writing for Truth… (1-26-06)
Dear brother Jeff,
Greetings in the name of the Lord. Thank you for the forwarded website.
Halbrook has done a lot of damages in the vineyard of the Lord here in the Philippines dividing the brethren.
If you may offer your time to visit us here and hold lectureship, … and I are willing to arrange it for you. We need someone like you to expose what Halbrook has been doing.
In every place he went, Halbrook keeps saying that he is one of the best debaters and no one dares to challenge him.
I told the brethren that many have tried to debate him but he is not willing to face anyone.
I specifically mentioned your name as one of the many who challenges him to a debate.
We will be glad if you will attend to our invitation… May God bless you and keep you. (1-26-06)
...Take care and know that we continue to think of you and the work you are doing for the Lord. (1-20-06)
Just wanted to pass along our new address... (1-18-06)
It is an excellent article... It is sad and pathetic to see such a two-faced turn around. He ought to be ashamed and embarrassed. (1-16-06)
The beauty of the Internet is that an article can just keep circulating. I just copied and pasted the below from another list that was sent to a number of G.O.T. preachers. The articles also go into several archives where they can continue to be assessed in the future. I told some young preachers who contacted me this week for them to let me tackle these guys. I have nothing that they (GOT) can take away from me. I learned of another one that they just drove out of full time preaching and, in fact, he is not able to place membership at a local church in the area where he is located due to their control of the churches in that area of that state. (1-13-06)
… I thought I had Connie’s email, but I do not. Can you send it to me? … (1-5-06)
It looks to me as though you have proven Adams is inconsistent. (1-5-06)
I am sorry to say that your material relative to Connie is accurate, based on my cursory reading. Connie is reflective of the common unity-in-diversity mind-set. I would venture to say that a significant percentage of fellows who know the truth on such issues as MDR are like-minded with Connie and that he has done much toward encouraging and even adding “church of Christ officiality” to such thinking. I recall a couple approaching Connie back in the early nineties and asking Connie if there were any doctrinal differences between Connie and me. His reply, according to them, was: “Don Martin and I doctrinally stand together on all issues of which I am aware, the difference between Don and me is that he applies doctrine to the point of fellowship and I do not always do so.” While it is true that I was not a witness to the just alluded to conversation, however, based on Connie’s subsequent actions, I have all the reason to believe the conversation occurred just as the couple told me. One particular issue mentioned by the couple was divorce and marriage to another. While there are, no doubt, finer and perhaps even philosophic nuances associated with the MDR issue, the doctrinal differences now prevalent are practical and involve rank adultery and, hence, must be addressed to maintain doctrinal and moral purity. “Connie Adams believes as you do on MDR, Don,” I have been told many times during the last fifteen years, “why, then, must you cause trouble and division while Connie promotes getting alone and working together in our doctrinal differences?” This question has prompted much thought on my part. Connie has on various occasions admirably taught the truth on such issues as MDR. However, he has done so while in practice and fellowship, compromising these issues. Connie continues to be a co-editor with Mike Willis and exercise a major role with the workings of the Guardian of Truth Foundation and Truth Magazine, a magazine that is going down in history as a primary purveyor of the many aberrant positions regarding MDR. How can brother Adams so closely work and be identified with Mike Willis, now famous for his multiple causes for divorce? Would we think for a moment that Paul would be so involved with erring brethren? Such is unimaginable! (cp. Gal. 2: 1-5.) Connie, I am afraid, is sending a strong message of compromise, especially to the many young preachers who have admired Connie’s teaching through the years. “There is decided truth, but, after all, getting along with the brethren is more important than truth and moral purity,” is the message. Some of the same conduct was observed in Foy E. Wallace, Jr., another man for whom I at one time had great respect. A couple years prior to brother Wallace’s death, he conducted a gospel meeting two blocks from where I resided, a far out liberal church teaching many things that Foy once taught were wrong. To my knowledge, brother Wallace maintained much of his doctrinal belief until his death, but he, like brother Adams, found a way to mix and mingle with the extant false teachers and doctrinal perverters. Such, whether it be brother Wallace, brother Adams, or brother Martin, sends a terrible message of ambiguity, hypocrisy, and contradiction. I do not profess to always know the precise point in time when clear severance of fellowship must occur, but to practice such “working together regardless” over such a time span is indefensible (2 John 9-11). God help us all to have the courage to both teach and practice the truth on all issues. (1-5-06)